NAC wants RTE to cover migrant workers' children

The National Advisory Council headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi is set to recommend that the government should support all schools to meet the norms under the Right to Education Act and make it sure that the children of the migrant workers and manual scavengers as well as the ones in the conflict zones are also covered by the legislation.

The NAC approved the recommendations of its Working Group on Right to Education in a meeting on Friday. The panel’s recommendations for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government include “support to all schools to meet the norms under RTE after assessing the compliance status of all Government, aided and private schools”.

The NAC – the UPA government’s interface with the civil society – stressed on better integration of children from disadvantaged groups in the private schools.  “The definition of ‘disadvantaged’ needs to be widened to include categories of highly disadvantaged groups such as migrant and street children, children in conflict regions, children of manual scavengers,” the panel noted, adding: “It is government’s responsibility to timely reimburse the private schools to cover incidental expenses such as the costs of remedial work, counseling, text books and uniforms.”

The Centre has of late made it clear that the March 2013 deadline for extending the implementation of the RTE Act would not be extended.

Gandhi-led advisory panel also recommended that the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry for Human Resource Development should jointly develop a national policy for early childhood and pre-school education.

The NAC, in its earlier incarnation during the UPA’s first stint in power, had been instrumental in conceptualizing and drafting the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which was finally passed by Parliament in 2009.

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