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RTE Act: Assam child rights body to survey schools

Guwahati, February 7 (IANS): After receiving several complaints, the Assam child rights panel has decided to conduct a survey in all schools in the state to find out if provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 have been violated.
The Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights received reports from some areas alleging gross violation of provisions of the act. Some parents had complained that the school authorities had been charging fees from their children though they weren't supposed to.
Assam had adopted the act last year after the state cabinet approved the rules under the act, which guarantee a lower primary (LP) school (Classes 1-5) within a one-kilometre radius of every neighbourhood and a middle English (ME) school (Classes 6-8) within a three-kilometre radius of every neighbourhood, besides free education from Class 1 to Class 8.
Runumi Gogoi, a member of the commission, said they have received complaints from parents mainly in Rani Education block in Kamrup district alleging the school authorities had been between Rs.20 and Rs.500 from parents.
Gogoi, however, said there is a general misunderstanding about the implementation of the act in schools. "Most schools are yet to receive any instruction from the government regarding the implementation of the act," she said.
"There has been a misunderstanding about the implementation of this act. Considering the complaints, it is clear that the confusion is mainly in Kamrup. Hence, we decided to conduct a survey and monitor all the schools of the district and straighten it out. We would spread the survey to all the schools in the state if needed in a phased manner," she said.
"We visited the Rani Education block after receiving complaints. When we spoke to the headmaster, we were told he hasn't received any direction of this act from the inspector of schools," the member said adding that the headmaster returned the fees to all its students thereafter.
Earlier, an NGO, Sangrami Krishak Shramik Sangha, had written to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and to Unicef over alleged violation of the Act.

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