Schools for Pardhi children obligation under RTE: Panel

A study on the status Pardhis tribe, conducted by the TISS shows that 61 per cent of Pardhi children who are in the schoolgoing age have never been enrolled in schools.

Mumbai | Published:June 3, 2015 2:36 am

The government is obliged under the Right to Education (RTE) Act to provide schooling to children from the weaker sections of society including those covered under special category, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has observed.

The Commission, recently hearing a complaint of the founder-member of the ‘Fase Pardhi Samaj Sangathana’ that a residential school for children of the Fase Pardhi community being run at Mangrul Chawhala at Khandeshwar taluka in Amravati district since September 2013 was not granted recognition, felt there was a need for residential and neighbourhood schools for the community.

According to the complainant, noting that children of this community are often engaged in begging, fishing and ragpicking, he had started a residential school for them from Classes 1 to 7 and applied to the state government for recognition. When he failed to get any response, he approached the Commission. The Commission issued notices to the state’s tribal development department, which, in a written submission, said that Maharashtra has five ashramshalas for children belonging to this community and one of them is at Bhatukali taluka of Amravati district.

A study on the status Pardhis, a denotified nomadic tribe, conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in 2012 shows that they are at the bottom of socio-economic hierarchy and 61 per cent of Pardhi children who are in the schoolgoing age have never been enrolled in schools.

The MSCPCR order says that the RTE Act makes it obligatory on on the part of the government to ensure that children belonging to special category are not discriminated against. “The Fase Pardhi community is a nomadic and migratory tribe having its own language and tradition. Their children need separate residential neighbourhood schools so that they can complete their education without disturbances.

They have the right to get education in a residential school. The matter falls under special categories as defined in the RTE Act…The complainant has the right to run the school and get recognition, provided the schools meets infrastructure and facilities prescribed under the relevant provision,” the order said.