PUNE: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to Maharashtra government regarding its Education Department's decision to close down Zilla Parishad schools with less than 10 students and shifting them to other nearby schools.
The State government has been given four weeks for a detailed report on the matter.
The notice sent by NHRC states, “The Commission has observed that the reported decision of the State Education Department would adversely affect the students, particularly, those coming from the rural background and cannot afford education in private schools. The Commission is of the opinion that before implementation of this decision, a thorough study on the issue is required to be conducted so that the right to basic education of the children is not violated.”
Referring to a school in Raireshwar area in Pune district, the notice stated, “There is a school in Raireshwar area which will be closed in pursuance of the latest directions and the students studying in the school will go to another school situated in Rairi area, which is 35 km away. The journey to the school will take at least two hours.”
The teacher, posted at the Raireshwar school, has stated that it will be impossible in the monsoon for the students to attend school. Two other schools, situated in Malwadi and Keshavnagar, would also meet the same fate. Another teacher has mentioned that he parks his motorcycle at Kankwadi village at the base of the cliff and walks for an hour up the path, which passes through a forest. He has added that you cannot expect a girl student in Std I to walk through the forest for one or two hours daily; their parents would never allow them."
VIOLATION OF RTE
- The NHRC notice also states that the decision will hamper the purpose of RTE Act, the provisions in which mention that the distance of the school from the house of a student should be less than 1 km till Std V and less than 3 km for Std VI to VIII.
- The NHRC notice slammed the decision saying that State Education Minister Vinod Tawde is of the view that the low number of students in these Zila Parishad schools, means that the quality of education is poor there.