Courtesy:Express News Service – NEW DELHI
School authorities in India persistently discriminate against children from marginalized communities, denying them their right to education, the Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Tuesday.
The 77-page report ‘They Say We’re Dirty’: Denying an Education to India’s Marginalized’ documents discrimination by school authorities in four Indian states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh — against Dalit, tribal and Muslim children.
The report also highlights that despite a law guaranteeing free schooling to every child aged between 6 to 14, nearly half are likely to drop out before completing their elementary education.
The report says the discrimination creates an unwelcome atmosphere that can lead to truancy and eventually may lead the child to stop going to school.
Weak monitoring mechanisms have failed to identify and track children who attend school irregularly and are at risk of dropping out, or have already dropped out.
“India’s immense project to educate all its children risks falling victim to deeply rooted discrimination by teachers and other school staff against the poor and marginalised,” said Jayshree Bajoria, researcher and author of the report.
She says that instead of encouraging children from at-risk communities who are often the first in their families to ever step inside a classroom, teachers often neglect or even mistreat them.
Detailed case studies examine how the lack of accountability and grievance redress mechanisms is continuing obstacles to proper implementation of the Right to Education Act.
About 160 people, including children, parents, teachers, and a wide range of education experts, rights activists, local authorities, and education officials were interviewed in the four states for the report.
The government should adopt more effective measures to monitor the treatment of vulnerable children and provide accessible redress mechanisms to ensure they remain in the classroom, the Human Rights Watch said.
According to the government, nearly half – over 80 million children – drop out before completing their elementary education.