Inclusion of Marginalized Children in Private Unaided Schools:The RTE Act, 2009 | Social Exclusion

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This study by Oxfam India looks at the implications of the provisions laid out by the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009) which makes it a legal requirement for private, unaided schools to provide free and compulsory education to children from disadvantaged groups. The paper used data from the academic year 2012-2013 to highlight the issues which can occur with Private Schools who are never reimbursed by the government for these students. Studies were carried out in schools in Bangalore and Delhi (two cities at the front of implementing the RTE) – schools reported that this issue ‘has opened doors for greater governmental interference.’ This paper looks at how different schools in these cities were made aware of the Section 12 provision and its rules, and outlines how the addition of marginalised children to a school can impact on the learning resources and opportunities of paying students.
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  a   Inclusion of Marginalised Children in Private Unaided Schools under The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 An Exploratory Study  b   Author: Submitted to Oxfam India February, 2014 Padma M. Sarangapani Former Professor and Dean, School of Education, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and currently Associate Professor, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore Archana Mehendale Visiting Associate Professor,School of Education, Tata Institute of Social SciencesMumbai 400088  with Rahul Mukhopadhyay  Assistant Professor,  Azim Premji University, Bangalore Annie Namala Director,Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion, New Delhi  Supported byOxfam India© Oxfam India March 2014This publication is copyright but the text may be used free of charge for the purposes of advocacy, campaigning, education, and research, provided that the source is acknowledged in full. The copyright holder requests that all such use be registered with them for impact assessment purposes. For copying in any other circumstances, permission must be secured. E-mail: policy@oxfamindia.org/Published by Oxfam India: 4th and 5th Floor, Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, 1, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi 110001 Tel: +91 (0) 11 4653 8000 www.oxfamindia.orgOxfam IndiaOxfam India, a fully independent Indian organization, is a member of an international confederation of 17 organisations. The Oxfams are rights-based organizations, which fight poverty and injustice by linking grassroots interventions, to local, national, and global polic developments.For further information please write to: policy@oxfamindia.org, or visit our website: www.oxfamindia.org.  Contents Preface 2Acknowledgments 3Executive Summary 4Chapter 1 Background 6Chapter 2 Methodology 10Chapter 3 Analysis of Rules and Guidelines 13Chapter 4 Status of Inclusion of the Marginalised in Private Schools of Bangalore 18Chapter 5 Status of Inclusion of the Marginalised in Private Schools of Delhi 31Chapter 6 Comparative Summary of Main Findings 39Chapter 7 Policy Implications and Recommendations for Action 42References 44AnnexureAnnexure 1: Toolkit Index 45Annexure 2: Toolkit used for Bangalore Schools 46Annexure 3: Toolkit used for Delhi Schools 58Annexure 4: List of Schools 68Annexure 5: List of Key Informants 70  2 Preface The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act), in force since April 2010, provides for inclusion of children from marginalised communities (defined as disadvantaged and weaker sections under Section 2 (d) and (e) of the Act) in private unaided schools. The manner in which such admissions should occur and the nature of such inclusion has been determined by the rules framed by appropriate governments. The private unaided schools have always controlled their own admission policy and resisted the provision through various means, including challenging the constitutionality of such a provision in the Supreme Court. But the effort was not successful since the court, in April 2012, upheld the provision as well as the constitutional validity of the Act. This provision has direct ramifications at multiple levels. At the administrative level, the issue has been about the nature of the rules framed that are meant to operationalise this provision and the extent to which these have been implemented. At the school level, the issues pertain to admissions, fee reimbursements and financial adjustments, school and teacher preparedness, socio-cultural dynamics within school and classrooms, peer interactions, academic planning and so on. At the family level, issues have revolved around coping and adjustments at socio-cultural, economic and academic levels. Media reports have indicated resistance towards this provision from private schools as well as discriminatory practices – both overt and covert – that prevail at multiple levels within the schools. At an official level, the provision has been defended on the grounds of ensuring inclusion of the marginalised children in the private schools that are perceived as schools offering better ‘quality education’ as well as ensuring that the private schools also contribute to the national efforts towards universalising education. While this provision is a significant legal and social attempt to foster inclusion and questions the disparities prevalent within the education system as a whole, the level of its acceptance by various stakeholders and the nature of its implementation can help us understand the position of such a policy prerogative, the challenges and potentials it faces in ensuring its ultimate objective. This exploratory study attempts to look at the implications of this provision in practice so as to understand what is happening on the ground and what can be done.
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