Friday, July 20, 2012

Bangalore: Irked by RTE school cuts hair of poor students

New twist in hair-cut tale

Published: Friday, Jul 20, 2012, 10:47 IST 

By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

While the state education department official who has been assigned to probe the Oxford School hair-cut allegation is confused, the story took a new turn on Thursday.

Parents of three children admitted under the RTE to the Oxford English School in Nandini Layout had alleged that their hair had been snipped to segregate them from the other children in a glaring case of discrimination. According to sources in the education department, the entire story was fabricated by the parents.

"While 11 students have been admitted under RTE in the school, how were only these kids harassed? The actual issue is something else and the parents are taking advantage of this issue," said an official of the department. "Even the students are saying that their classmates chopped their hair and pierced them with pencil. But the parents are not allowing the kids to talk and interfering in between when the students are being enquired about the incident," the official added.

"I have enquired the students and parents, but the school was closed even on Thursday. The managements themselves called me and said they will open the school tomorrow (Friday). I will question the staff and other students on Friday. The primary report has been submitted to secretary of the department," said N Chandraiah, deputy director of public instruction (DDPI) North, who is conducting the inquiry. He remained confused.

Chandraiah could not believe that the school management could do such a cruel act. "The students are giving different statements and the story narrated by the parents and students is also very different," he said. Meanwhile, the school authorities said that a group of people entered their school about two weeks ago without permission. "The group which entered our institution demanded money, and because we refused they did this to spoil our reputation," said a school teacher on condition of anonymity.

Not just the Oxford School, this had also happened to three other schools in the same locality, the teacher said, adding that they, however, refused to reveal it before the media. It is being claimed that some of the schools have orally complained to the Nandini Layout police station about this.

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Classmate cut our hair, say students

TNN Jul 19, 2012, 02.27AM IST

BANGALORE: A day after a Dalit organization alleged that a private school in Bangalore had forcibly cut the hair of Class 1 children admitted under the RTE quota to distinguish them from others, the children on Wednesday admitted that a mischievous classmate had cut their hair.

On Tuesday, the Dalita Samrajya Sthapana Samiti had claimed that Oxford English School in Nandini Layout of North-West Bangalore was discriminating against children admitted in the 25% quota mandated by the Right to Education Act. The Samiti accused teachers of cutting the children's hair, not giving them homework and marking their attendance, making them sit on the last bench and checking their lunch boxes.

By Wednesday morning, mediapersons were talking to the children and their mothers at the Samiti office to figure out what exactly had happened.

When two children, whose hair had been cut, were asked who had done it, they said: "Sagar (named changed). Asked who he was, they said, "He's our classmate."

Their angry mothers quickly butted in: "What was the teacher doing when a boy cut my child's hair? Today, it's hair. What could it be tomorrow? They're not attending to our children at all."

Next, Samiti members brought forward a girl and pointed to a healed wound on her forehead. The child said: "Suresh (name changed) did that to me. I was shaking the desk and he asked me not to. I shook it again and he pricked my forehead with a pencil."

D Narayan, the Samiti's founder president, opened blank notebooks of the children and alleged that the children were not being taught anything. "The teacher doesn't talk to them. They're made to sit on the last bench. Their names are not called when attendance is taken," he alleged.

"These children are not being given homework. When we ask teachers, they say 'Just help them practise alphabets and numbers'. We're not allowed into the school. When we raise an issue, they say: "Bring it up at the parent-teacher meeting," said Reshma Banu, a mother of a student.

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'A classmate, and not teacher, snipped the hair of the kids'

STAFF REPORTER

BANGALORE, July 20, 2012

As the debate raged on the discrimination against children admitted under the Right to Education (RTE) Act in Oxford English School on Nandini Layout, the school management, which kept mum thus far, has finally come out with a clarification.

Ajit Prabhu, correspondent of the school — where locks of hair of the children admitted under the RTE Act were cut to distinguish them from others — spoke to The Hindu after a meeting of the private school management associations with the Karnataka government here on Thursday.

Mr. Prabhu said the hair of the Standard I students was cut, not by the teacher but by one of their classmates. More importantly, the hair of even children of the general category was cut.

"The crafts class was going on. Chirag [the name changed and who cut the students' hair] had scissors. When the teacher Rupa [the name changed] turned to the blackboard, Chirag cut off the locks of hair of four children: two non-RTE and two RTE children. The teacher took him to task and informed the principal; the parents of both parties were summoned the next day."

"At the meeting, the parents of the children whose hair was cut turned violent and beat up Chirag's father," he said.

Thereafter, the parents of the RTE students approached Narayan of the Dalitha Samrajya Stapana Samiti. His men barged into the class when Rupa was teaching, pulled her out and manhandled her. "She was freed at the intervention of some Standard X children. To this day, Rupa is scared, and we don't know whether she will come back to school. Narayan's men took away the tiffin boxes of the children," Mr. Prabhu said.

Asked about the names of the children admitted under the RTE quota not being in the attendance register and not being given homework, he said: "They are included in the attendance register. They were not given homework, given the learning differences, since the other children had studied LKG and UKG."

As for the school remaining closed, the office-bearers of the Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association, of which Oxford English School is a member, asked how the school could be opened in the midst of protests by several organisations outside the campus.

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'Other children's hair was also cut'

STAFF REPORTER

BANGALORE, July 20, 2012

Even as the debate about the alleged discrimination against children admitted under the 25 per cent quota of the Right to Education (RTE) Act in Oxford English School, Nandini Layout, rages on, the school management, which had remained incommunicado, has finally come out in its defence.

Ajit Prabhu, the correspondent of the school where locks of hair of the children admitted under RTE were allegedly cut last week, spoke to The Hindu after the private school management associations met officials here Thursday.

Mr. Prabhu said the hair of Class 1 students was cut not by the teacher, but by one of their classmates. And, the hair of those not under RTE quota too was cut.

"The crafts class was going on. Chirag (name changed) (who cut the students' hair) had [a pair of] scissors. When the teacher Rupa (name changed) turned towards the blackboard, he cut off the locks of four children — two admitted under RTE and two others. The teacher took him to task, informed the principal and the parents were summoned the next day. During the meeting, parents of students whose hair was cut, got violent and ended up beating up Chirag's father," he said.

After that, some parents whose children were under the RTE quota contacted Narayan of the Dalita Samrajya Sthapana Samiti. His men barged into the class when Rupa was teaching, pulled her out and manhandled her, Mr. Prabhu said. "She was freed with the intervention of some Class 10 students. She is still [rattled] and we don't know if she will come back."

When asked about the names of the children admitted under the RTE quota not being in the attendance register and not being given homework, he said: "They are included in the attendance register. They were not given homework after considering the learning differences as the other children had studied LKG and UKG."

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Bangalore: Irked by RTE school cuts hair of poor students
 
Source: Dailybhaskar.com | Last Updated 11:05(18/07/12)

Bangalore: In a shocking incident came to light on Tuesday, a private school here allegedly cut off tufts of hair on top of the heads of four children who were admitted there under the Right to Education (RTE) quota. This was done to reportedly distinguish these children, admitted under the RTE quota, from other students.

As per a report published in The Hindu, the parents of the children, admitted in standard I in the school at Nandini Layout, allege students admitted under the RTE quota are made to stand separately during the assembly and their lunch boxes are checked before they enter their class. They allege that the names of their wards have not been entered in the attendance register. The school reportedly makes them sit in the back benches and they are not given any homework.

Incidentally, this school is part of the Karnataka Unaided School Managements' Association (KUSMA) that is vehemently opposed to implementation of the RTE quota of 25 percent in city schools. Several schools under KUSMA, including this one, remained closed for the second day as part of the association's weeklong protest against implementation of the RTE.

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'State must reclaim its role'

Published: July 20, 2012 09:49 IST 

DEEPA KURUP

A.R. Vasavi
A.R. Vasavi

Proliferation of schools is not being monitored: A.R. Vasavi

Amid much protest, private schools in Bangalore reluctantly implemented a controversial provision in the Right To Education (RTE) Act and admitted poor and disadvantaged students from their localities to classrooms.

A disturbing story reported this week about teachers at a private school, allegedly cutting off tufts of hair of Class 1 children to distinguish them from other students, and making them stand in separate lines during assembly, has shown us the deep inequalities in our society. In an interview to The Hindu, A.R. Vasavi, a social anthropologist working on issues of schooling and education, spoke about the limitations of the implementation of this important legislation, linking it to the unregulated proliferation of private institutions.

Q. What does this reported incident of discrimination by school authorities towards children tell us about the society we live in? Where does this "us" and "them" come from, and could an Act like the RTE play a role in bridging this divide?

A. It is the most clichéd reproduction of a hierarchical and differentiated culture. What is upsetting is that even in schools, the very places these inequalities must be addressed, such incidents are taking place. A key issue here is that the state has failed to monitor the proliferation of schools, many managed by edu-entrepreneurs who view schools as a business only. The mushrooming of D.Ed. and B.Ed. colleges match the growth of education as an enterprise and it is little wonder that private schools see this as both economic loss and status decline.

Teachers too are not genuine educators, as is indicated in the absence of an orientation towards the principles of education. Part of this problem is the poor quality of teachers' training, and the lack of embedding ideas of humanity, democracy and justice in them. This results in reproducing their ideas of hierarchy at workplace.

Q: While many private institutes have vehemently opposed the RTE Act, often making provocative and telling statements regarding "dilution of quality", others are concerned that this might result in the state withdrawing from its responsibilities for provisioning quality education to all through public schools.

When the whole RTE mobilisation took place in the 1990s, I supported it because we needed to an Act that ensured children free and compulsory access to elementary education. But I've had several reservations about the idea that disadvantaged students will be integrated into these elite institutes. We need to be clear about distinguishing between the RTE Act and the 25 per cent quota.

The problem is that the state has now reduced the overarching idea of promoting a common schooling system to the implementation of this quota. The state has an important role to play. For instance, the need to make every government school a quality school — then the whole fly-by-night operations would be done away with.

Q: The government has reduced its role vis a vis the RTE to supervising the implementation of the quota. What are the other interventions that the State must make?

It has to reclaim its role in being the key agent for educational provisioning in elementary education. Its primary role has to be keeping strict tabs on quality (of text books, educators or facilities). Ironically, the so-called stringent RTE standards are being used to shut down good alternative schools (catering to the poor and disadvantaged), while allowing dubious private institutes.

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