Objectives of the study:
This present study is an attempt to contribute to the ongoing discourse in the country, and will, help to forge partnerships and make a positive difference in the country’s education system. Specifically the objectives of the study are:
To know the status of adoption of RTE Act 2009 in private school of rural Punjab.
To identify the problems faced in implementing RTE Act 2009 in private schools of rural Punjab.
To find out measures taken by government for private schools that failed to adopt RTE.
To find out suggestions for effective implementation of RTE in private schools of Rural Punjab.
The main question to be probed is: Are Private schools Adopted RTE Act properly? Since there are various provisions in the RTE Act, our study was restricted to examine the following research questions:
Are Private schools made 25 percent compulsory reservation? If not why?
Are private schools charging any type of fees from such students?
Are the teachers appointed are qualified and paid as per government rules?
Are students admitted to the school without any admission test/ age proof?
Are private schools made provision for one classroom of standard size for each section?
Are the teachers take proper interest in providing education and other activities to such students?
The locale of study was rural areas of Punjab. There are total 22 districts in the state. But the data for two districts, namely, Pathankot created from Gurdaspur and Fazilka created from Ferozepur were not available as these districts were created very recently and after the census of 2011. as such the data for these districts were included in their basic districts. All the 20 districts were grouped into three categories on the basis of rural literacy rate defined as highly educated, thinly educated and moderately educated.
From each group, 2 districts were on the basis of rural literacy rate as well as keeping regional distribution. These selected districts are Amritsar and Faridok from thinly educated areas; Gurdaspur and Ferozepur from moderately educated areas and Moga and Rupnagar from highly educated areas.
From each so selected district: initially it was proposed that one block will be selected having up to five blocks and two blocks having more than five blocks again on the basis of literacy rate block-wise distribution of private schools was not available. Moreover. private schools were unevenly distributed among various blocks of the district Therefore one third of the private schools of the selected districts were selected. Accordingly 405 (nearly one-third of the total private schools) were selected from these six selected districts of Punjab. Furthermore, from the selected private schools. 30 per cent of the teachers were interviewed. There were 4525 teachers selected to collect necessary information. Instead of selecting the respective households (app 4000). group discussions with held on the day of PIA meet which gave very fruitful results and comments and suggestions. Non-probability convenience sampling method was used for the purpose of the study.
Questionnaires for Principal/Head Teacher/ Teachers
Questionnaires for School Management
Questionnaires for Parents
Method of the study:
PRIVATIZATION OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION IN PUNJAB:
There were 9125 private schools functioning in Punjab during 2013-2014. majority of these private schools, as expected, were observed in the metropoliton cities of Ludhiana (1371; 15.02 percent) followed by Amritsar (922; 10.10 percent), Jalandhar (798; 8.74 percent) and Patiala (705; 7.72 percent) these four districts claimed 41.58 percent of the total private schools in Punjab. On the contrary, the least number of private schools were found in Faridkot (152;1.66 percent) followed by Fatehgarh Sahib (163; 1.78 percent) and Barnala (16/8; 1.84 percent). However, wide variation has been observed across different districts of Punjab; Coefficient of variation being 73.92 percent due to obvious reason.
On the other hand, only one- tenth of private schools in Punjab were concentrated in the four districts, namely, Faridkot, Ferozepur, Fazilka and Muktsar of Malwa region of Punjab. This points towards the lack of awareness about the importance of education in once life in the Malwa region as majority of the population of this region are drug addicts and alcoholics; underprivileged coupled with the lower population of school going children. The youths in the villages of Malwa region of Punjab are most affected by drug addiction, alcoholics and or drug menace. It is high time Punjab should come out and take the responsibility of waging a war against drugs because for the past many years, we have been helplessly watching our younger generation falling prey to drugs.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS PER LAKH OF POPULATION:
There were 32.94 private schools per lakh of population in Punjab. Gurdaspur has highest proportion of private schools per lakh of population (40.12) followed by Ludhiana (39.32), Amritsar (37.03) and Mohali (37.73). However, the least number of private schools per lakh population have observed in Mansa (22.92) followed by Bathinda (23.70) and Ferozepur (29.09) respectively. Nine districts, namely, Amritsar, Fazilka, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Mohali and Patiala were having greater proportion of private schools per lakh of population than the state average of 32.94. These cities are either metro cities of state or the service sector/class dominated community districts. However, other districts, namely, Mansa, Bathinda, Ferozepur and Muktsar claimed less proportion of private schools per lakh of population than the state average. These districts generally belong to the educationally backward regions of Punjab.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS PER THOUSAND OF AREA:
Likewise, there were 1.81 private schools per thousand hectares of geographical area in Punjab. Ludhiana being the service dominated class (majority of the workers has migrated from other states and settled in Ludhiana; Jalandhar and Amritsar) were having maximum number of private school per thousand hectare of geographical area (3.73) followed by Amritsar (3.45), Mohali (3.35) and Jalandhar (3.00). on the contrary, Bathinda (0.99) claimed the least number of private schools per thousand hectare of geographical area followed by Muktsar (0.85 percent), Mansa (0.80percent) and Ferozepur (0.46 percent). Moreover, Ferozepur, Bathinda, Mansa and Mukstar have less than one private school per thousand hectare of geographical area.
GENDER WISE PRIVATE SCHOOLS:
Education is more than just reading and arithmetic. When fully realized, its a promise that includes learning how to get along with others, coping with setbacks and discovering strengths. A decent education provides children the foundation they need to reach their full potential and is a basic right that no child should be denied. However, 57 million children around the world are out of school-and the majority of these young people are girls. A lack of education not only limits their ability to control their own lives, but also make positive contributions to the lives of others. Almost cent percent of private schools were purely meant for girls (0.78percent) in Punjab. Furthermore, Punjab claimed less than one percent of private schools purely meant for boys. Maximum percentage of girls schools were observed in Bathinda (3.35 percent) followed by Barnala (2.98 percent) and Kapurthala (2.82 percent). Girls are powerful for what they contribute in their youth and for their unlimited potential as mature women. Education is the route to this power and girls education provides perhaps the single highest return on investment in the developing world. That's why we provide education and leadership opportunities for millions of girls and help them gain the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Without school, a girls future fades away. Female education is a catch-all term for a complex set of issues and debates surrounding education for girls and women. As stakeholders in the country’s education sector are doing all they can to improve the education of a girl child.
STANDARD WISE PRIVATE SCHOOLS:
There are four types of private schools operating in Punjab according to standard namely, Primary schools running classes from standard I to standard V; Elementary or Upper primary schools running classes from standard I to standard VIII; Metric schools running classes from standard I to X and secondary schools running classes from standard I to +2 (XII). For the sake of simplicity schools can be grouped into only two categories, viz. Elementary (I to VIII) and Composite schools (I to XIII). There was 9125 number of private schools in Punjab, majority of which are of composite nature due to profitability motive. Furthermore, equal distributions have been observed between elementary and composite schools of up to metric standard each at 29.66 percent. However least number of private schools was noticed for primary standard (15.58 percent) due to low profit margin and high cost of operation. Moreover, one-fourth of private schools have been noticed as composite schools having classes up to Secondary level. The operating cost of primary school is high as they have to employ more staff to take care of child in comparison to elementary or Metric school. More emphasis should be given to open up maximum number of private schools for primary standard to achieve the MDM target of Universalisation of elementary education.
AREA WISE PRIVATE SCHOOLS:
District wise distribution of private schools revealed that in rural area, Tarn Taran claimed maximum number of private schools. On the contrary, metropolitan cities were very far away and showed fewer number. Sixteen districts, namely, Fatehgarh Sahib, Fazilka,Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Mansa, Monga, Mohali, Nawanshahar, Pathankot,Patiala, Rupnagar. Sangrur, Muktsar and Tarn Taran were having more private schools in rural areas than state average of 55.04 percent.
In the urban areas, the maximum proportion of private schools were observed in Ludhiana. Metro cities of Amritsar (56.08 percent), Jalandhar (59.78 percent) and Ludhiana (65.28 percent) claimed lion’s share of private schools in Urban areas as compared to rural areas of Punjab due to obvious reason.
DISTRIBUTION OF TEACHERS:
Under section 23 of RTE Act, the minimum qualifications for appointment of teacher is as laid down by the academic authority. Teacher appointed after the enactment of the act must have minimum qualification laid down by authorized academic authority, viz., National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE): +2 with two years Diploma in Elementary Education for Primary level and Graduation with B.Ed for upper Primary. They also need to clear the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) for appointment as Teachers. Teacher who, at the commencement of the Act, does not have minimum qualification must acquire it within 5 years of the commencement of the Act. Further, Section 28 asserts that no teacher should engage in private tuition or private teaching activity. Section 29 authorizes the appropriate Government to prescribe the curriculum and the evaluation procedure for elementary education. There were 118751 teachers working in 9125 private schools of Punjab. A lion share of the private school teachers is dominated by female. Furthermore teachers were equally distributed between regular and adhoc/contract service nature. The maximum percentage of regular teachers was observed in the area of Mohali (93.40 per cent) being the service dominated household areas followed by metro cities of Ludhiana (87.79 per cent) and Jalandhar (83.21 per cent). Twelve districts, namely, Amritsar. Bathinda. Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur. Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Moga, Mohali, Nawanshahar, Patiala. Sangrur and Tarn Taran were having higher proportion of regular teachers than state average. Lion's share of the private school teachers is dominated by female due to high rate of unemployment; the easy availability of cheap female teachers and profitability motive of management, a huge proportion of teachers were appointed on contract basis. Moreover, the management of school prefers to appoint teachers on ad-hoc basis so as to avoid paying other perks such as EPF and Maternity leave concessions etc.
QUALIFICATION WISE TEACHERS:
Majority of teachers in private schools were unqualified/under qualified in Punjab (47.67 percent). The number of teachers having Graduate degree with B.Ed claimed (22.64percent) Post graduate qualification with B.Ed and or M.Ed were (29.69 per cent). The maximum proportion of teachers having Graduate qualification with B.Ed were noticed in Fazilka (31.57 per cent). Ferozepur (29.06) and Moga (28.02 per cent). However the least were observed in metro cities of Amritsar (20.43 per cent) followed by Ludhiana (19.54 per cent) and Jalandhar (17.48 per cent). Moreover, Bathinda and Muktsar Sahib (38.39 per cent each) claimed maximum percentage of teachers having Post graduate qualification with B.Ed followed by Moga (37.92 per cent) and Rupnagar (30.44 per cent) due to non availability of other avenue of employment Director General School Education did not provide any information about the number of teachers who have cleared Teacher Entrance Test (TET) conducted by the Punjab Government. Likewise no information of the pay package was provided. Apparently, Department of School Education of Punjab has implemented RTE Act half heartedly and without undergoing rigorous home work. Though under the RTE Act. no teachers will do tuition work, but it was observed in the group discussion (off the record) and views of the parents that majority of the teachers do tuition work because of meager pay package and the school act as a plat form for negotiation.
AREA WISE DISTRIBUTION:
There was shortage of teachers qualified in metro cities which shows negative impact on the study of children. In rural area. fifteen districts namely, Bathinda, Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib,Fazilka. Ferozepur. Gurdaspur, Kapurthala. Mansa. Moga. Mohali, Nawanshar, Pathankot, Patiala, Rupnagar, Sangrur, Muktsar and Tarntaran were having fewer amounts of unqualified teachers than state average (48.92 percent).
EWS ENROLLMENT IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS
All private schools shall he required to enroll children from weaker sections and disadvantaged communities at their entry level class to the extent of 2s per cent of their enrollment, by simple random selection. No seats in this quota can be left vacant. These children will be treated on par with all the other children in the school. But there is no information with the DGSE office about the enrollment of EWS students under 25 per cent reservation. In fact no admission was made since the introduction of RTE Act, thanks to the effectiveness of the Punjab Government.
There were in all 2561492 enrollments in different districts of Punjab. The maximum proportion of enrollment was noticed in general category of Punjab (78.23 per cent) as compared to others (not defined but may include SC STEWS (21.77 per cent). Enrollment in rural area was 48 percent while the remaining 52 per cent was urban enrollment. Three fourth of the rural enrollment was for general category and 25.56 per cent for SC/ST/EWS as well. The corresponding enrollment for urban area was 81.70 per cent for general students and 18.30 per cent for SC/ST/EWS.
Male students dominated enrollment scenario in all categories of private schools. There were a lot of variations in the percentage male and female students in the Punjab yet the percentage of male students was higher than the percentage of female students. The main reason responsible is that parents were not interested to send their girl child to school. The imperative of the situation demands a change in the mindset of parents.
Furthermore, the class-wise enrollment of primary private school revealed that the ratio of upper (5th) class to lowest (1st) class enrollment has doubled during the last 5 years. Similarly, among the last 8 years, the ratio of upper (8th) class to lowest (1st) class enrollment has been tripled in the middle/upper primary schools. On the other hand, that the ratio of upper (12th) class to lower (1st) class enrollment has declined in composite schools. Apparently, the completion rate at the primary and middle level has improved while that at the secondary level it has decreased.
PUPIL TEACHER RATIO:
The government has recommended the number of teachers according to strength of students. i.e, for primary level one teacher for 30 students, for elementary one teacher for 35 students. Almost all the schools were having overstaffed teachers. Better pupil teacher ratio in privates schools can be attributed to the fact that management of private schools appoint variety of teachers besides teaching such as substitute teachers; recreational activity teachers; home work note-book checking teachers and so on.
PROFILE OF TEACHERS RESPONDENTS:
There were 4525 teachers respondent selected who were working in selected private schools of rural punjab. Majority of the teachers in the private schools of rural Punjab were females because of easy and cheap availability and high degree of unemployment especially among the educated females. Moreover teaching profession for them is considered to be one of the best; safe and most preferable profession. Almost similar scenario has been observed across all the selected districts of Punjab. However, little more than one third of male teachers were working Moga followed by Faridkot and Ropar districts of Punjab because of nonavailability of other venue of proffession. Moreover little less than one-fourth of the male teachers were working in Ferozepur district of Punjab.
AGE-WISE DISTRIBUTION OF TEACHERS:
Highest proportion (37.54 percent) of teacher working in the private schools was n the age group of greater than 25 but less than 35 years of age. Nearly three-fourth of teachers working in private schools was in the age-group of greater than 25 years of age but less than 45 years.
QUALIFICATION WISE TEACHER:
Gurdaspur had the highest proportion (55 percent) of unqualified teachers as compared to other districts of Punjab. Majority (45.74 percent) of the private teachers are unqualified, being either simply +2; or Graduate or Post Graduate. They have had not undergone any professional teaching course/ training.
SALARY-PACKAGE OF PRIVATE TEACHERS:
Majority of the teachers were having monthly salary in the range of Rs 2500 to Rs. 5000. which is less than the employment prescribed under Minimum Wages Act of 1948. Ministry of Labor and employment along with the School Education Department should take necessary steps in this direction. No other types of perks were provided to the teachers in the private schools of rural Punjab. On the conditions of anonymity, teachers' reported that they have to sign two salary bills - one as per school record and the second as per actual payment. Even in case of DBT/ Cheque payments same method is adopted in the majority of the schools.
MODE OF PAYMENT:
Nearly three fourth of the teachers were paid their salary through cash and salary of only 14.27 per cent of teachers in selected private schools were credited through NEFT DBT while the remaining 11.96 per cent of the teachers received salary through cheque. Managements of private schools preferred to pay the salary package through cash medium only to have under the table business. Nearly 69 per cent of teachers in private schools had adopted EPF/CPF scheme -a very healthy sign of development. Employees Provident Funds Organization (EPFO) a statutory body under Ministry of Labor and Employment should ensure the implementation of EPF/CPF schemes to all the eligible teachers of private schools.
PRE-SERVICE TEACHER TRAINING:
It helps to learn best and effective method to teachers. But none of the teachers has undergone any preservice training - a very unfavorable and unhealthy response of private teachers working in private schools of Punjab. However, qualified teachers with ETT/ B Ed/M Ed have undergone teaching practice during their course of study but that does not relate to the actual/real situation. Management of the private schools must ensure that the teachers must have had undergone pre-service training at some national/state level institute for a minimum period of six months before entering the actual class room. This must also be ensured for the government teachers too.
IN-SERVICE TEACHER TRAINING:
In-service teacher training helps in up-gradation of knowledge. Leading private schools used to organize seminars workshops etc to update the know ledge of their staff. They also invite teaching staff from the adjoining areas. Little more than one fourth of the teaching staff has undergone in service training a the state level. To keep the teachers updated about the latest teaching pedagogy and knowledge up-gradation. private school teachers should allow their teachers to undergo teaching orientation workshop conducted by NCERT/SCERT
MEDIUM OF INSTRUCTION:
Majority of the teachers (nearly one half) in private schools adopted English as the Medium of instruction because of the craze of the pupils parents rather than mother tongue. People like to speak English to get fame into the global society being international language, Native language was used only by 9.17 percent because People dont likes to speak mother tongue. They thought that if they speak mother tongue language it will deteriorate family status.
USE OF TEACHING AIDS IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS:
The most popular teaching aids among the private school teachers were the traditional blackboard, chart and workbook because that's easiest mode of teaching. Instead of use of other teaching aids like Power Point presentation (PPTs), smart board and computer. PowerPoint presentation, smart board and computer are less used by teachers at the time of study because teachers doesn 't shows any interest for that difficult teaching aids and they thought that type of teaching aids are more time consuming.
PROFILE OF RESPONDENT SCHOOLS
MANAGEMENT OF SCHOOLS:
Religious organizations were ruing highest proportion of private schools in Amritsar followed by Gurdaspur. Likewise maximum number of private schools run under Minorities Act was maximum in Ferozepur followed by Moga district.
GENDER WISE SCHOOLS:
As expected, majorities (97.72 per cent) of the private schools were co-educational in nature and remaining 2. 28 per cent were purely meant for girls only. Almost same scenario has been observed in all the selected districts of rural Punjab. The need of the hours is to open up more purely meant for girls to boost girl's education. It is heartening to note that private schools purely meant for girls were highest in the districts of Moga, Faridkot and Ferozepur areas of the Malwa region.
STANDARD WISE SCHOOLS:
Nearly three-fourth of the selected schools were Composite in nature running classes up to either Metric or +2. on the other hand only one- tenth of the schools were running class up to 5th standard, that is. Primary and the remaining 16.56 were Elementary in nature that is, running classes up to 8th standard. Primary as well as Elementary schools was highest in Ropar district at 15.11 and 21.88 per cent respectively. Highest proportion of Secondary schools was observed in Moga at 83.41 percent. Furthermore the distribution of private schools was not uniform across different districts of Punjab.
OWNERSHIP OF BUILDING:
Nearly three fourth of the private schools in rural areas of Punjab were operating from their own building and the remaining one fourth were operating from rented buildings. The highest proportion of rented building was noted in Faridkou district at 30.19 per cent and least in Amritsar district at 6.32 per cent because majority of the schools in Amritsar were run by religious organizations which have constructed their school buildings beautifully.
More than one-half of the students (55.57 percent) were males and the remaining 44.43 percent were females. Girls are powerful for what they contribute in their youth and for their unlimited potential as mature women. Education is the route to power, and girls education provides perhaps the single highest return on investment in the developing world. That's why we provide education and leadership opportunities for millions of girls and help them gain the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Without school, a girls future fades away. Female education is a catch-all term for a complex set of issues and debates surrounding education for girls and women. As stakeholders in the country’s education sector are doing all they can do to improve the education of a girl child. Apparently more and more girls are entering schools to have education. Almost similar scenario has been observed in all the selected districts of rural Punjab. Least proportion of female students has been noticed in Amritsar district followed by Ferozepur- both the underdeveloped and boarder districts of Punjab. Special drive should be undertaken by the government in these districts for promoting girls education.
All the private schools were fully equipped with various types of modern Academic Infrastructure such as projector, educational Cds, computer and printers, white board in place of blackboard, DVDs etc. However their use was restrictive during normal classroom teachings. Instead of normal use, students were taken to various labs once in a week due to lack of specialized teaching staff because normal teachers hesitate to use modern equipment in their routine teaching.
DRINKING WATER FACILITIES:
Availability of drinking water facilities in the selected private schools revealed that little less than one third of the private schools did not have any water purification device installed in their school. They merely depend upon the natural source of water such as hand pumps or taps or submersible water pumps. Remaining two third of the private have water filtration device such as RO or other types installed in their school campus. Nearly one fourth of the schools have RO facilities which is maximum in Amritsar schools followed by Moga. Other types of filtration facilities were maximum in Ferozepur district followed by Ropar. Though the private schools have pure drinking water facilities, but the students and parents pointed out lower number of water outlets as compared to the strength of the students. As a result they provide water bottles to their children. Also, very few of the schools have water cooling facilities during summers.
Under the governments School Sanitation and Hygiene Education Programme, each school should have one toilet and three urinals for 40 girls and one lady teacher. Design guidelines for school toilets mandate space be kept for girls to keep sanitary napkins and ensure sunlight enters the room. There is a strong need to have menstruation-friendly schools that ensure girls safety and dignity to manage their periods and stop dropping out of school. According to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, nearly 20 percent of Indian schools are devoid of toilet facilities for girls. Moreover, out of the schools that have toilet installed in their premises, only 92.64 percent are functional according to a report titled Elementary Education in India. The dismal state of toilets has led to a drop in enrollment of girls in schools- 48.20 percent this year as against 48.36 percent last year.
While the percentage of usable toilets for girls increased from 32.9 percent in 2010 to 53.3 percent in 2013, 47 percent schools in the country still donot have separate toilets for girls, increasing their chances of dropping out or facing regular difficulties, found Pratham (ASER 2013). Girls between the age group of 12 and 18 miss five days of school every month during their menstrual cycle because schools dont have separate toilets, according to the 2011 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) by Pratham, a NGO working on education. Various misconceptions are passed on from mothers to daughters, causing an inter generational cycle of poor hygiene practices. Fear and shame, coupled with inappropriate facilities for changing, washing, drying and disposal make it worse, leading to absence from school.
Almost all the private schools had toilet facilities though not up to the mark. It was found that although toilets were dirty, had no locks and there was no place for the girls to dispose sanitary napkins, yet there was near little absenteeism. Good knowledge of menstrual hygiene and the advantage of being able to go home when they needed to change helped retain girls in schools. However, in schools where girls are unable to go home, they are more likely to lose out on education. Apparently there was a strong need to advocate for better facilities in all schools. Improved knowledge could reduce the economic and social impact of poor menstrual hygiene. There is a need to create a collective platform to push for a greater synergy to give women and girls safe spaces to learn about and manage menstruation.
The government took its time in realizing the importance of menstrual hygiene management. It began distribution of sanitary napkins through ASHAs under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2010. according to Ministry of Health and Family welfare, by the end of 2012, a pack of six sanitary pads known as free days was sold for Rs.6 to 1.5 crore girls between the age group 10-19 in 115 districts across 17 states including Himachal Pradhesh and Punjab. Although ASHAs receive Rs 1 for each pack sold, many of them are also ignorant of the importance of menstrual hygiene and are not active participants. More recently, the Ministry of Drinking water and sanitation incorporated suggestions from the Geneva-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council to change the guidelines in the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan to recognize the importance of menstrual hygiene management(MHM). The new guidelines will help to increase budgets for raising MHM awareness. Adoption of such programmes/ schemes in private schools directly will go a long way to create awareness among school going girls about MHM. Apparently there is need to open up Girls Friendly Schools.
HEALTH CHECK UPS:
Annual medical checkup for students is required by the School to maintain a healthy and fulfilling school life. The medical checkup is not only important for identifying an illness at an early stage, but also for maintaining your personal health, making you aware of your current condition and giving you the possibility to improve your lifestyle. About seventy per cent of private schools in rural Punjab had half yearly medical check facilities while one fifth of the schools had yearly and the remaining one tenth had monthly medical checkup facilities in their schools. Special drive was organized in different schools to check up dental/eye checkups. However follow up facilities was not adopted by the schools, but they just recommend to their parents about the deficiencies if any to take corrective measures.
Various schools provide to and fro transport facilities to their students to attract pupils from far off places. For this purpose some schools had their own transport fleet of buses/vans or tempo travelers. Some schools also contacted the private transporters for this purpose. Nearly 44 percent of the private schools had their own fleet of buses and 18 percent had made contract with the private transporters. Little more than one third of the private schools did not provide any type of transport facilities to their students. Majority of such schools were in Gurdaspur followed by Amristar and Ferozepur districts. Faridkot leads in owning its own transport fleet followed by Ropar. Amritsar had highest proportion of contacted transport facilities followed by Moga district. However, parent were of the view that transport facilities should be provided free of cost or a very nominal charges be taken to cover the fuel cost. Buses should not be overloaded and separate provision be made for girl students instead of mix up. Some of the buses available were in shambles conditions and have outlived their life and needs replacement. Bus routes are very long and students had to waste much of their time in traveling. Efforts should be made in this long and students had to waste much of their time in traveling. Efforts should be made in this direction by the owner of the private schools. Many school buses are overcrowded with the students. The lackadaisical attitude of the school managements, transport and traffic police authorities have certainly led to increase in mishaps. parent’s further complaint that majority of the private schools did not issued a receipt for the transport charges.
School buses ferrying students in the state continue to violate traffic norms, parents opinion which puts at risk the lives of youngsters. This is continuing despite meetings between the state/district administration and school authorities on a number of occasions. There seems to be hardly any check on the state of buses, which are attached with schools. Many school buses are overcrowded with the students. In some buses students can be seen standing or sitting at doorsteps, which is quite risky. Many school buses play without a cleaner or a conductor. Drivers discharge duties of conductors as well. Rash and high speed driving, even on congested city, roads, needs and immediate check. Parents said, whenever they asked the driver why he was speeding, the only reply they got was: that he had to reach school well in time. But the school authorities did not pay any heed to the problem.
It was strange that the semi- literate drivers were always held responsible for violation, but school managements were not entrusted the responsibility to keep a tab on violations. The relevant laws were available to regulate school buses. According to traffic norms, a driver of a school bus could be booked for driving related offences. while the school management, owner and principal could be held responsible for other violations. Parents added that even private vehicles like vans, cabs, auto-rickshaws and rickshaws. ferrying school children were bound to follow the safety measures Regional Transport Office is deliberating on directing managements of all private public schools to give in writing that their buses were completely fit and in case of any accident, they would be responsible. According to the transport norms, drivers operating school buses or vans should possess heavy vehicle licenses with a minimum of 10 years driving experience. The guidelines emphasize that buses and vans should not be loaded with students beyond the stipulated seating capacity All seas must be fixed with safely belts, buses must be painted in yellow color, and these must have first aid boxes, emergency gates even from the roof top of vehicles. A number of private schools have come up in villages near the city has also increased as many schools have narrow approaching roads.
The authorities concerned have not been able to rein in erring drivers, owners of buses and vans. A the same time, rickely and worn-out vehicles, driven by inexperienced drivers are the root cause of accidents. But these vehicles continue to ply defying the safety norms said parents of school-going toddler. Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), while granting approval for affiliation and other category of associated schools, seeks affidavits containing 16 rules school principals. However, officials of Department of School Education only ensured that these schools submit the affidavit once in a year.
The PSEB norms maintain that those schools, which have any means of transportation, including van, auto, bus, must indicate their telephone and registration numbers on these vehicles. Fitness certificates of vehicles in drive-able condition and valid permits have also to be submitted. Besides, these vehicles must have conductors and drivers who must wear uniforms possess valid license, must have five years of driving experience. not have been challenged more than three times, names of school and routes must be displayed on these vehicles besides availability of first aid box in the bus. School Education Department through its District Office should keep a check on transport facility of various schools, besides holding traffic awareness camps with the assistance of traffic police in schools.
To inculcate the habit of reading among the students, private schools maintained a well equipped library. Though the private schools maintained the libraries, but books are not issued to the students. They were allowed to read them in the library during their free period/recess or some schools had a library period. Students were of the view that library books may be issued to them for reading at home. However, teachers were issued books for their use.
Keyword(s): Right to Education, Private Schools