The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is likely to flag the exemptions enjoyed by minority schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act and propose a committee to study the impact of such exceptions, including immunity from providing 25 per cent reservation to poor students, at the meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) next week.
CABE, which is the highest advisory body on all education-related matters that includes representatives of union and state governments, will meet for two days next week. NCPCR is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The Commission’s suggestion on debating the impact of exceptions under the RTE law for minority schools is significant against the backdrop of the recent statements by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.
In an interview to an ABVP mouthpiece in October last year, Bhagwat had criticized the legal provision that excludes the minority schools from the 25 per cent mandatory reservation for children from economically weaker sections. He claimed that such benefits were helping minority schools earn more than other institutions. Bhagwat called for a change in law.
The agenda for the CABE meeting, accessed byThe Indian Express, shows that the Ministry of Women and Child Development has suggested 14 points for discussion at the meeting, which includes NCPCR’s demand for “formulation of a sub-committee of CABE to assess the impact of the benefits provided to minority educational institutions through 93rd Amendment Act of Constitution of India i.e. Article 1595) which immunize minority institutions from the provision of reservation for admission in such institutions.”
All private schools that offer the mandatory reservation for poor students under Section (12)(1)(c) of the RTE Act have to be reimbursed by their respective state governments for the cost incurred in educating these children. However, according to information provided by the HRD Ministry in the Parliament in the recently-concluded Winter Session, almost ten states have not fulfilled their obligation.
NCPCR also wants CABE to constitute separate panels to regulate tuition fee in private schools and reduce weight of schools bags. The Commission has even proposed a CABE subcommittee to suggest the way forward for children from economically weaker sections, who complete 14 years of free and compulsory education in a private school, and how should they cope with the psychological implication of leaving school or moving to another institution.
In addition to the above, the following proposals are also on the CABE agenda:
# To establish Bharat Ratna Dr/ APJ Abdul Kalam Global Open University (online) on the pattern of IGNOU
# NITI Aayog has proposed a law that mandates at least 10% to 15% of space, in any form of publicity (print, posters, banners and all forms electronic media including social media) should be devoted to education.
# Emphasis on physical education. Schools should ideally have 30 minutes of physical education every day at the elementary level and 45 minutes for middle and high school students.
# Include passage from the autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam in English language textbooks.
# Discussion on safe and secure environment in schools in wake of recent crimes committed on different schools campuses