The Tamil Nadu State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (TNSCPCR) has received 131 complaints in the last nine months from parents of children whose schools have not adhered to the rules of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
Officials said that most complaints pertained to students being expelled or being detained in the same class, allegedly for poor performance in exams, or reasons such as “breaking school rules.” The Commission said that as the Board exams draw closer, the number of complaints had increased, with schools targeting “bad performers.” As many as 25 complaints were received in the last two months.
Race for perfect results
“Children who didn’t score well in the monthly tests are being removed because schools want perfect results,” said M.P. Nirmala, chairperson of TNSCPCR. “It is shocking because it is the school’s duty to provide adequate attention to these children and not expel them,” she added.
Officials said they had sent the District Child Protection Officer concerned to solve the matter, but not all schools cooperated. “Several school managements and headmasters resisted against taking the children back. Also, students being expelled for not following rules are based on frivolous reasons,” she said.
The RTE Act mandates every State government to provide free elementary education to every child between ages 6 and 14. The Act adds that children must also be admitted to age-appropriate classes to save them from the embarrassment of sitting with younger children. It also facilitates special training for children to enable them to be on par with others.
“This rule has been violated several schools across the State. We need an enquiry,” said P. Bala Murugan, a child rights activist. Authorities must also issue notices to all matriculation schools to ensure children’s right to education,” he added.
The Inspector of Matriculation Schools was unavailable for comment.