AAP leader and former education minister Harsh Dev Singh, on Friday, accused the current regime in Jammu & Kashmir of failure to implement the foremost provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
Pointing out that the RTE Act binds private schools to admit free at least 25 per cent students belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) category, Harsh Dev Singh lamented that UT administration is found wanting in the implementation of the provision.
He noted that the RTE provides for free and compulsory education till class-VIII.
“Despite the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 being applicable to the UT of J&K, the present regime continues with its unabated violation depriving the prospective beneficiaries of benefits envisaged under the Act”, he said.
Expressing dismay over the “gross defiance” shown by the government towards the most revolutionary provisions of the Act, Singh said it only demonstrated the derision and contempt of the present rulers for the beneficial laws and educational reforms in the new UT.
Not only have the most revolutionary provisions of the RTE Act been violated with impunity by the Education Department in the UT but private schools too seem to have been granted immunity from complying with the mandatory provisions of the Act in view of a well-knit nexus operational in the system, he alleged.
“Not only that, the Education Department has refused to reply to repeated right to information (RTI) applications seeking information on the progress with regard to implementation of RTE Act in J&K,” he claimed.
The RTE acknowledges the right of children to free and compulsory education from 6 to 14 years of age, from class-I to class-VIII. It provides that no school fee, capitation, charges or expenses are to be paid by the child to get elementary education.
Alleging disregard for the RTE law which had been incorporated into the Fundamental Rights enumerated in Article 21-A of the Constitution of India, Singh called for civil as well as penal action against those defying the significant constitutional guarantees the citizens of the UT are entitled to.