Indus Action, a non-profit organization that helps people access their legislative rights is currently working along with Mission Taleem towards the realization of section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education Act. RTE under Article 21a of the Indian Constitution enacted in the year 2009 lays importance on free and compulsory education for children between the age group of 6 and 14 in India. The Act requires all private schools to reserve 25% of their seats for children belonging to the economically weaker section and disadvantaged group (EWS- DG) category.
This admission season, the Directorate of Education (DoE) will conduct the first computerized draw of lots on March 7th, 2018. For this, Indus Action and Mission Taleem have actively set up 100 application desks across 12 centers in Delhi to mobilize and help economically weaker and disadvantaged groups to fill application forms online. The aim is to ensure families of these communities to send their children to private schools and avail 25% seats reserved for them. This initiative has already impacted 1300 families in Delhi. At present, the number of vacant seats available are 30,000 under RTE Act. This year, the centres which have seen maximum traction are – Shastri Park, Kondli and Mukundpur.
Parents have shown their immense faith in Indus Action in order to fill the application forms. Moreover, almost 220 families have also signed up for Indus Action’s School Readiness Program where the Shiksha Sahyogis (local women who represent these communities and are associated with Indus Action) run classrooms to help children to be school-ready. 54% of 4-5-year-old kids applying for these seats struggle to cope with early language and socio-emotional behaviors. Indus Action is also conducting a free five-minute diagnostic at the application desks for kids to gauge whether they are school ready or not. For kids found to be not school ready, Indus Action is also setting up learning centers across the city for parents to come in with their kids and spend 2 hours a week to get their wards ready for school.
Tarun Cherukri, CEO and co-founder, Indus Action adds, “Children in the earlier years (ages 3-12) don’t have very definite identity consciousness. They don’t really distinguish based on class, gender, income and so on. They may notice differences in physical attributes but evidence shows that there is a window of opportunity when children are almost purely egalitarian. They don’t have biases. If one is looking to develop a more inclusive society, this is the best age to do it. There is an opportunity for children to form friendships across identities. It is the best stage to make children more inclusive generationally. It’s much harder to cultivate social inclusion at the higher education level.”