Published: 27th June 2023
Odisha: Parent protest lack of financial assistance under RTE
The parents allege that they have not been receiving the “per child allowance” of Rs 25,000 entitled to the EWS category students
Hundreds of parents of students under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of the academic year 2023-24 staged a protest on Monday, June 26 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. These parents, whose children enrolled in both English and Odia medium private schools, alleged a lack of enough financial support they are entitled to when it comes to the education of their children.
The aggrieved parents, who protested in front of the Heads of Departments building in Nataala, also lodged their complaint with the Chief Minister's Grievance Cell. In addition, they also submitted a memorandum of their grievances to the Directorate of Elementary Education, reports The New Indian Express.
The Odisha State Government provides around Rs 25,000 to parents of Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category students in private schools as 'per child expenditure’. This allowance is given to parents under the Right To Education (RTE) Act, along with free textbooks, uniforms, mid-day meal and other such entitlements. However, the parents allege that no such allowance is being provided and many of them are purchasing books and uniforms for their children out of their own pockets.
Anukul Sahu a parent, whose child is studying in Class II in a private Odia medium school under EWS quota, says, "Despite having low income, we are bearing a financial burden of thousands of rupees as neither the private schools are sharing any details, nor the government is clarifying if it has provided the funds to private schools for the same.”
Despite thousands of EWS students enrolled in private schools, parents alleged that the Directorate of Elementary Education is yet to resolve the matter.
Basudev Bhatta, Chairman of the Odisha Abhibhak Mahasangha, said his organisation has also extended its support to the protesting parents. The organisation has also raised the issue before the government, as nearly the parents of 20,000 students enrolled in private schools under RTE are affected by it.
The officials of the Directorate of Elementary Education couldn't be reached for comments, while a senior official from Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA) said that the government has already finalised the per-child expenditure for this year and the Elementary Education directorate is looking into it.