Patna high court issues notice to check state facilities being provided in blind schools
Bihar State Primary Teachers Association vs The Union of India & Ors The petition was filed with the backdrop of a huge gap in school-enrolled children in Bihar. During the academic year 2011-2012 -- the year when Right to Education Act was enforced -- the state had more than 50 lakh un-enrolled children, which means that about 19.5 per cent of the state’s children are not enrolled in any school. Under the Right to Education Act, the local authority were supposed to conduct school mapping and child mapping for the age group 6-14 years, and to place the record in public domain. On the basis of this record, they were to conduct house-hold surveys for the identification of children not enrolled in schools. Further, every child is to be provided with a school within the radius of 1 kilometer for primary-level education and 3 kilometres for upper-primary level education. The enrollment should be done in school run by Government, if Government school is not available then in private aided schools, if aided is not available then in un-aided schools as defined under Section – 2 (n) of the Act. However, the petition pointed out that, “the State seems least interested for the same and in implementing the act in its true spirit effectually as there is continuous inaction on behalf of the authorities regarding the enforcement of the act and its provisions.” The petition sought directions from the Patna high court to ensure that that the Bihar government’s chief secretary and principal secretary of the department of education conduct household surveys of the children up to the age of 14 in accordance with Rule 6 of the Bihar State Free and Compulsory Education for Children Rules, 2011; and that neighborhood schools are established in accordance with the Sections 6, 8 (b) & 9 (b) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 after conducting proper school mapping. It also asked that the court ask the state to ensure compulsory admissions on 25 per cent of the seats reserved for the economically weaker section in the un-aided private recognized schools, and that only qualified and trained teachers are recruited and allowed to teach in all primary schools run and controlled by the local bodies, Siksha Parishads and private schools. In its order on February 16, 2018, the court directed the state government to file a report indicating the facilities being provided by it in the blind schools in Bihar. It also served notice to the Member Secretary, Bihar State Legal Services Authority with regard to the pendency of the matter and directed the Member Secretary to take steps for representation on behalf of the Authority on the next date.