'Independent body should monitor RTE act'

Consultant Kiran Bhatty, who established the RTE division, says it was important to have specific role and duties for efficient working


Jasleen Kaur | April 4, 2012

Shantha Sinha, chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), has said the difference between the working culture of an activist and a bureaucrat has resulted in winding up of the RTE division of the commission.

The division was assigned the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of the Act, which makes education a legal right for the children in the age group of 6 to 14 years. But just a day before the act completed two years of its implementation, the division was wound up.

Kiran Bhatty, the consultant who established the division in 2010, along with five members put in their papers on March 31.

Bhatty joined the commission in January 2010. Her position was supported by the UNICEF to help NCPCR set up a division within the commission to monitor the implementation of the act.

Her contract with the commission ended in March 2012. Although she refused to give a convincing reason behind her decision to resign, she said it was important to have specific role and duties for efficient working.

“It was not possible for the UNICEF to support the division for so long. The commission should have created a position by now. Everyone in the division were working on contract. Also, there were some structural problems within the commission,” Kiran Bhatty told Governance Now.

She added, “Monitoring of the RTE Act is an important work assigned to the NCPCR. But there are larger systemic issues that need to be sorted out. There should be an independent body for monitoring of the act. NCPCR reports to two ministries, ministry of women and child and ministry of HRD.”

One of the members of the RTE division said, "There was a lot of interferance from the ministries each time we were to prepare a report. This made our work very difficult."

The right to education act has completed two years of enforcement but it still needs better implementation. The division, during its term, also conducted a pilot study of social audit on the implementation of the act. It was first-of-its-kind study in the field of education. The study was conducted with the help of NGOs and community and the division has complied the data and the commission will now soon release the documented copy.



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