New Delhi, Jan. 28: The National Advisory Council today accepted a working group’s findings that children often faced discrimination in school based on their learning outcome and background and agreed on suggestions to end such differential treatment.
NAC member Farah Naqvi presented two sets of recommendations to the Sonia Gandhi-headed panel, which deliberated on the proposals.
One of the suggestions the working group came up with was a code of conduct for schools. Another suggested a grievance redress architecture from the local to the state and national levels.
Under Article 21-A of the Constitution and the Right To Education Act, which came into force in April 2010, every child between six and 14 has the right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school without facing any discrimination.
In a draft report, the working group said it found discrimination in classrooms and school spaces based on language, caste, religion and economic background.
It said it found that kids were physically abused and mentally harassed for wrong answers. At times, it said, teachers even suggested that some children did not need to score high marks because of reservation.
Children belonging to certain sections of society, the report said, are not allowed to drink water from taps, use toilets, sports materials and computers, or sit with other kids for midday meals. Such children, it said, are often asked to clean classrooms and bathrooms.
The working group suggested that the HRD ministry, along with states, take steps towards defining discrimination. It stressed on reforms in teacher education for training them to handle discrimination and engage with issues involving identity and diversity.
It also called for training of school management committees and local authorities. The HRD ministry, it added, should make budgetary provisions to promote inclusion in schools.