The furore over the molestation case of a four-year-old girl by a school bus attendant on Friday has made the authorities cautious. This incident revealed that out of 30,000 unaided private schools in the state, only 10,000 have formed the mandatory school transport cell in their institutes.
For the sake of kids: Education director (primary) Mahaveer Mane has asked for RTE norms to be amended. Pic/Mohan Patil
Taking cognisance of this, state education director (Primary) Mahaveer Mane is planning to petition the state education department to make it mandatory for all schools to set up transport committees by making amendments to the Right to Education Act (RTE).
"The state government in its capacity can make amendments to the RTE Act. So, I am requesting the education department to include the norm of setting transport committees in every school by amendment of the RTE Act. Once it becomes law binding on every institute, schools will have to follow it," Mane said.
At present, the state has very little control over pre-primary educational bodies. Mane stated that the government is not authorised to take any action against private schools.
"To date, pre-primary education doesn't fall under the ambit of the state. The draft of the new act on pre-primary education is still awaiting approval from the state government," he said.
But, socio-legal activist Advocate Aseem Sarode rubbished the assurances of the education director to amend RTE to include school bus transport committee norms in it.
"Making amendments to any law is tedious and a time-consuming process. If the government really wants to do something in the interest of the students it should immediately come up with a notification or government resolution (GR).
GRs have equal importance," Sarode said, adding, "The state has to ensure the implementation of its existing rules rather than giving assurances of making amendments in laws."
Five days after a four-year-old girl was molested in a school bus, on Wednesday the school's administration directed women teachers and Std IV female staff in the school to accompany students in school buses till the last child is dropped off. "We are satisfied with the school's decision to appoint female attendants in every bus and even class teachers to attend to the children over seating arrangements and other issues," Anil Mahajan, one of the parents said. The school's director Maruti Navle, said, "I have given clear cut directions to all schools to ensure that a female teacher or staff is present in every school bus. From June onwards, we are going to appoint full-time female attendants in all school buses."