The Right to Education Act (RTE) 2009 makes it obligatory for private schools to reserve a minimum of 25% of seats for children from weaker and disadvantaged groups. Today’s video documents a case in Karauli district, Rajasthan where this rule is openly flouted.
On her way to the office, Suneeta Kasera would see Rakesh a 10-year-old girl playing on the streets while she should have been in school. Rakesh has never seen the inside of a classroom. Her parents Badami and Pappu own a small teashop and can’t afford to send their three children to school on their modest income. When they heard about the reservation rule they hoped that their children could also go to school. This however, was not to be.
When they tried to admit Rakesh and her siblings in a private school they were told outright by the authorities there that unless they pay the fees, they weren’t welcome there. When Suneeta spoke to the school authorities she was told that the government had not provided the funds necessary to give children free education.
In a situation like this, where the parents barely make ends meet, children often end up joining the work force to supplement the family income. Suneeta fears that Rakesh and her siblings might face a similar situation despite their parents’ best intentions.
This story is not an isolated incident. The provisions of the RTE have many lacunae and their implementation, both by government and schools, has been half hearted at best. “We want to educate our children and give them a better life”, says an exasperated Badami.
Article by: Kayonaaz Kalyanwala