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Schools must ensure equality among students

The Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the constitutional validity of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 is historic (Editorial “Not poor vs rich”, April 14). Now, it will be mandatory for the specified private schools to reserve 25 per cent seats for poor children. It is hoped the private schools will take the verdict in its true spirit.

The apprehension nursed by the private schools and others that the poor students will no be able to psychologically and educationally adjust in the classrooms is totally unfounded. The teachers and the School Management Committees (SMCs) must honestly help the students to intermingle and interact with each other in a constructive manner. The teachers and management must help the children remain in unison. Co-curricular activities, right guidance and counselling at crucial junctures should be a permanent feature.

“Compensatory payments” to the private schools should be timely. On their part, the central and state governments must do their best to improve quality of education in all government-run schools. A school must have the necessary infrastructure, learning material, teachers and other essential facilities as specified in the RTE Act.

SMCs should be trained to discharge their functions effectively. Each state must have its State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to take care of the implementation of the RTE Act.



Upholding provisions of RTE Act, 2009 by the apex court has come as a great relief to the poor and downtrodden segments of society. Human resources can only be built by education. Uniform implementation of the Act across India and reservation of 25% of seats of total enrolment to students belonging to weaker sections shall give impetus to the 100% enrolment drive launched by the government.

RTE provisions envisage reimbursing expenditure to the extent of per child expenditure incurred by the state or the actual amount charged from the student, which ever is less, is a well-thought plan, but its implementation depends entirely on the states’ will and wish.

In the absence of educational regulatory bodies and framed fee structure rules, it is going to create much trouble for the states as well as for private/aid educational institutions. State governments should be explicitly told to frame fee structure rules for private and aided schools, identify children of weaker sections residing in the vicinity of the schools and ensure that institutions enroll them on first come first serve basis.



The editorial Not poor vs rich (April 14) misses the cosmetic nature of the RTE law. Although it is a step in the right direction, but a single step cannot make one reach the destination unless followed by good execution.

Resistance from vested interests was but expected. The Supreme Court order exempting minority institutions from admitting poor students has started a race for getting minority status. Such money-minting machines (calling these ‘schools’ will be an insult to the temples of learning) are devoid of any ethics regarding social responsibility and are bent upon frustrating any design aimed at fostering some sort of a semblance of equality between the haves and the have-nots.

RTE still does not have answers to the educational rights of ultra-poor children, children living in far-flung areas, rag-pickers, orphans and those working on half-belly to earn a pittance for survival.

The RTE neither analyses nor suggests any mechanism for reducing the high drop-out rate once the admissions are over. A holistic approach addressing all these issues is required. Don’t we owe something more than tokenism to our future generations?


Call of duty

The incidents of increasing violence against government officials on duty (News items ‘Tax evaders turning violent’ and ‘Mining mafia thrashes naib tehsildar’, April 11) are a matter of great concern. The inability of the law enforcing agencies to prevent acts committed with impunity smacks of either their weakness or their connivance with its perpetrators. In the given scenario, who will uphold the law of the land and implement the directions issued by the courts from time to time? Any further delay in checking anti-social elements will undeniably lead to anarchy. A strict action against these unscrupulous elements is needed to preserve our hard-earned freedom and democracy.

DS KANG, Hoshiarpur

Losing goodwill

West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee had amassed huge amount of goodwill by single-handedly taking on the once-invincible CPM which had taken pride in ruling West Bengal for an unbroken record period of 34 years.

However, after wresting power from the CPM, she has been rapidly slipping down the popularity ladder because of her rash and irresponsible utterances, decisions, actions and moves.

Latest in the series of thoughtless moves is the arrest of Prof Ambika Mahapatra for releasing a cartoon that parodied Banerjee’s move of replacing former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi with Mukul Roy.

Cartoons are an effective way of letting out one’s steam in a democracy. No sensible leader will ever act against a cartoonist for doing so.


Memories of departed ones

A ray of hope, even if superfluous, provides or lends purpose to one's life (Pritam Bhullar’s middle 'Losing a life partner, April14). My experience of losing my mother a couple of years ago has taught me to live without her. Her sweet memories, her witty remarks, her emotions and many other positive traits are with us and we have learnt to enjoy every bit of her. She resides in our thoughts, our conversations and our feelings. We feel her presence in every moment of happiness and sorrow. This is perhaps the only and the best way to live with the departed ones.

Many renowned authors no doubt hint at theories of reincarnation, reunion and re-birth but there is always a feeling of doubt hovering over such beliefs. The life we are leading ends at the supreme stage of Nirvana i.e. death.

Let us make the present lively and colourful with the aroma and vibrance of our dear ones, whether living with us physically or having become an internal part of our emotions, feelings and thoughts.




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