United by RTE, divided by class, these kids get the ‘unkindest’ cut

What could have been the key to salvage the future of a lot of students has made lives miserable for some in schools. The Right to Education Act, it seems, has led to more discrimination and elitism than imagined, at least in a few instances.

Young students in a Bengaluru school have alleged that they are tormented and tortured everyday by classmates and teachers for being a part of the 25 per cent quota for the poor that got them admission in schools.

A six-year-old girl returned from school with scars made by being poked with a pencil by her classmate. ‘I complained to the teacher, but she didn’t even turn to look at what was happening,’ alleged the girl. This clearly is not a one-off case, as probes by TV channels have revealed. She is one of the eight young students from the Laggere area of west Bengaluru were admitted to the Oxford English School under the 25 per cent quota for poor children guaranteed by the RTE Act. 

Three of them accused their classmates of chopped-off tufts of their hair during school hours. They said that the teachers did not bother to intervene. In fact, they alleged that school officials exclude them from many activities. 

‘These children are made to sit in the last bench. They’re not given homework. They are not allowed to participate in class activities, like writing on the board, that other children do. Our children are excluded from class tests,’ said the mother of one of the children, talking to a TV channel.

Adding to the trouble, the government has taken no action whatsoever to either investigate or salvage the situation, though the officials say that they will look in to the matter.  ‘I condemn this act. The school will be removed from KUSMA,’ G S Sharma, president, Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association, said.

However, in a related development, KUSMA called off its three-day stir on Wednesday, which was held in protest against implementation of Right to Education Act and rules framed by government, on a plea by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar to come in for talks to arrive at a solution.
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