Parents tell candidates in the upcoming MCD elections to make RTE central to their manifesto
Jasleen Kaur | March 28, 2012
Miraj, a 40-year-old housewife from east Delhi's Trilokpuri area had only one thing to ask of the candidates for the municipal corporation seat from her area, and no, it was not roads or drains or any of the usual demands. It was quality education at the municipal corporation fo Delhi (MCD) school thather children attended. At a public meeting organised by Josh, an NGO, on Wednesday, the candidates made notes as Miraj spoke about the problems her kids face at the school.
She has two daughters studying in the tenth and the ninth grades at the MCD school in ward number 27 of Trilokpuri. Miraj says the teachers pay no attention to the children and that there is no availability of drinking water at the school.
“If they cannot give us clean roads, it is alright with us. But we want quality education for our children. Both my children hardly understand any subject at school; we have to spend Rs 500 every month on their tuitions to ensure they learn something. If this will continue, how will they get jobs after school,” wonders Miraj.
Many other parents face similar problems. Shashi Kaur's four children attend the same school as Miraj's daughters. She says there are no fans in the classrooms and it becomes difficult for children to study during the summer months.
“Drinking water is not available in schools. During summers, we go to school 2-3 times a day to give water to our children,” she said.
Most of these children are first generation learners but for their parents their education has always been a priority. Thus, they want to ensure quality education for their children.
“Earlier, whenever we complained about such issues, nobody paid any attention. But now we can demand it. We cannot afford to send our children to private schools. All we want is that our children should get quality education and clean environment in schools,” says Jaisri Devi, whose five children are enrolled in a MCD school.
She adds, “Teachers never call us for meeting or inform us about the progress of our child. And when we ask, they are rude to us. We have been told that schools have to form school management committees in which our involvement is mandataory. But nothing of the sorts has happened as yet.”
It has been two years since the right to education act was enacted but it has not been fully implemented. Schools still lack in infrastructure and quality education.
With the help of Josh, the community members prepared a charter of demands on RTE. The organisation brought together nominees of different political parties for a Jan Manch to get them to respond to teh parents' concerns.
Nominees of Samajwadi Party, BSP, BJP, Congress attended the meeting and promised to change the condition of schools.
Praveen Massi, a candidate from the Samajwadi Party said, “The biggest problem is that in many schools there are no separate toilets for girls and where they are there, there is the problem of hygiene. If I win, I promise to take steps to improve this condition because every child has the right to get quality education.”
Saurabh Sharma of Josh believes that it is the time that the authorities acted on the complaints of the parents. He said, “We all know that there are problems in schools but now it is the time to find solutions. We all want these leaders to include the issue of education in their manifesto and ensure that they work to fully implement the act.”
Ramchand Gulati, the BJP candidate said he will ensure that condition of schools improve if he wins. “We do not need private schools for our children. We will make these schools good enough. I also promise to open a library for children in this locality.”
He added that for the better implementation of the education act, it is important for the parents to be attentive and keep an eye on the activities of schools.
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