While a number of students belonging to ‘disadvantaged categories’ such as OBC, SC and ST in Bangalore North and South have benefited by availing themselves of the 25 per cent quota under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE Act), other sections under the same category haven’t been that lucky.
Street children, physically challenged, orphans and children infected with HIV have been largely ignored, a study has revealed.
The study titled ‘Inclusion of Marginalised Children in Private Unaided Schools under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009’, was carried out by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in association with Oxfam, an international NGO, in the two education districts of Bangalore.
In fact, primary data collected from 36 schools in the two districts show that no one from this ‘other’ disadvantaged category was admitted to any of the schools under the 25 per cent quota, according to Archana Mehendale, Associate Professor, School of Education, TISS.
“Getting admitted under the 25 per cent quota entails submitting a number of certificates. For example, a child with HIV needs to get a certificate from the Health department. For an orphan, he/ she has to also give proof of being an orphan, which is cumbersome. Such processes need to be streamlined,” she said.
Analysis of Education department data carried out in the study reveals that in the 1,927 private unaided schools in the two Bangalore districts, the share of enrolments under the RTE Act was the least among children belonging to the ST category compared with those from the SC and OBC categories. In 2013-14, the percentage of enrolments of children belonging to the ST category was between 1 and 5 per cent in Bangalore North. It was 23 to 33 per cent in the case of SC students and as much as 67 to 76 per cent of the OBC students.
In Bangalore South it was between 2 and 4 percent, 24 and 37 percent and 59 and 72 percent for the ST, SC and OBC students, respectively.
In 2011-12, the figure was between 0 and 6 per cent (North) and 3 and 5 percent (South) for ST students. For SC students, it was 29 to 45 per cent (North) and 34 to 52 per cent (South) and for OBCs it was 50 to 71 per cent (North) and 46 to 62 per cent (South).
In addition to the disadvantaged categories, there is also the “weaker section” that comprises children of all communities and castes, excluding those mentioned under the disadvantaged categories, whose parent’s or guardian’s annual income is less than Rs 3.5 lakh. The study highlights that the government “by its own admission” had fixed this “arbitrary amount”. The study, therefore, states that these various classifications do not address the question of multiple disadvantages.
Source : Deccan Herald , 7th April 2014