Video brings waste-pickers’ struggle to get wards quota seats under RTE

When Bualisha Makandar,a scrap dealer associated with the Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP),was seeking admission for his son under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota,his plight,in his own words,“was beyond imagination”.

Written by Garima Mishra | Published:March 6, 2013 5:46 am

When Bualisha Makandar,a scrap dealer associated with the Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP),was seeking admission for his son under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota,his plight,in his own words,“was beyond imagination”. The school,however,shed its resistance when KKPKP intervened.

He is now sharing his Right to Education (RTE) experience with the world.

“I was asked to submit income proof and caste certificate. I’m a scrap dealer,where am I supposed to get these papers from? I stopped going to work for almost two weeks,as I was busy collecting the documents,” says Makandar,in a short video uploaded on YouTube.

The video shows parents whose children have been admitted to private schools under the 25% free seats under RTE.

The video was conceived as part of the recently launched bilingual RTE website http://www.rtemaharashtra.org ,a project by Action for the Rights of Children (ARC). “The video is a joint undertaking of ARC,Centre for Learning Resources (CLR) and KKPKP; both KKPKP and CLR are active members of ARC,” said John Kurien,member,ARC.

Registered in 1993,KKPKP has more than 8,000 members.

The direction,editing and camera-work has been done by Anurata Tribhuvan. The idea of making the video,she says,was to help individuals and NGOs working to spread awareness on RTE use it to educate others. “People can download the video and share the success stories of these parents with others,” says Tribhuvan,adding that the video was shot over a month back.

The seven-minute video features parents including ragpickers,a PMT driver and a scrap collector.

“This was the first video. In future,we plan to make a video to cover children of migrants and how their education is affected because they keep migrating from one place to another with their parents,” adds Kurien.

Suman More,a ragpicker,says in the video,“When we heard of the 25 per cent free admission rule,we were happy. When such a provision exists,why shouldn’t we use it?”

She said when she approached the school,the authorities told her “Your children live in slums and will not fit in private schools. Your children don’t know how to behave”.

“They kept avoiding us and made us make several rounds of the school,meeting different authorities. However,we finally got our children admitted,” she says.

Another such story is shared by Dattatreya and Lata Gaikwad seeking admission for their two boys. The couple were told by the authorities that the school is not aware about any such rule and have not received any funds from the government for free admissions.

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