Pune: City-based RTE and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) activist Mukund Kirdat recently registered a complaint with Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights stating that the government’s decision to shut down 1,314 ZP schools violates the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2015.
He said the step might threaten the future of thousands of children. Speaking to Sakal Times on an earlier occasion, Kirdat said, “The RTE Act used a special word called ‘neighbouring schools’. The government is also forgetting that RTE Act has the word ‘Compulsory’ in it. It’s not up to the government to decide whether to run schools or not. It’s mandatory for them as it’s the right of the students. If the government is not ready to provide the students with good education near their homes, they need to start good residential schooling facilities for the same. Instead of this, they are just trying to find an easy way out.”
In the letter addressed to the commission, Kirdat stated that he along with other AAP activists like Sandeep Sonawane, Kishor Mujumdar, Saeed Ali surveyed some villages and the schools that are shortlisted to be shut down in the Mulshi-Tungi region.
“On surveying these areas, our team found there is a huge difference in the claims made by the government regarding the condition of the schools, and the reality. We studied the complaints of the children who have been shifted to other schools, and listened to their family members,” Kirdat has written in the letter.
The letter states that in the village Jagdambmala-Chaurevasti in taluka Shrigonda, district Ahmednagar, all the children of labourers cannot go to the newly allotted school as it is too far, leading to dropout of five children.
The students of a shut school in Chauraghewadi, Mulshi were found to be doing well in studies, reading English, solving mathematical problems efficiently, questioning the government’s criteria of merit level of the school.
In Shindewadi, Mulshi-Tungi, the students cannot be ferried to school in a four-wheeler, as most of the children’s houses cannot be accessed by road.