Important Advocacy Highlights

1)      Advocacy against rationalization of schools:

 

On 27-09-2014, the government of Telengana State issued G.O. M.S. No. 6 targeting at rationalization of schools and teachers. 

 

Main points in rationalization of schools are as follows:

 

a)    To close down all Primary and UP Schools where there strength is less than 19.

b)    To close down all high schools where the strength is less than 75.

c)    To close down all English medium SUCCESS schools.

 

About 2 lakh children are going to be affected – according to Teachers’ Unions.

 

District-wise schools to be closed: (as per Sakshi newspaper dated 29-09-2014)

 

Adilabad – 367

Nalgonda – 350

Karimnagar – 692

Rangareddy – 226

Mahabubnagar – 315

Warangal – 658

Khammam – 145

Nizamabad – 350

Medak – 280

TOTAL – 3383

 

Apart from the above, there are about 400 to 500 schools in Hyderabad and they too will be affected because of this G.O.   There are about 29990 government schools in Telangana State and this move would result in closure of about 10% of the schools which are about 3900.

 

Realizing the urgency to act on this issue, PVCR-TS did a multi-level advocacy on the issue of closure of schools in Telangana State and the need to protect government schools in order to ensure free education for children.  This was done in the first week of September 2014.  As part of this state-level advocacy campaign, the Governing Board members met with several ruling and opposition party leaders and with key intellectuals and media persons also. 

The main demands in the memorandum of PVCR-TS are as follows:

 

a)    Government needs to control privatization of education and improvise the government schools in order to ensure all children study in government schools.

b)    To immediately fill up the teacher vacancies in government schools.

c)    To appoint Educational Officers to monitor the government schools.

d)    A high level committee should be constituted with representation from student unions and teachers’ unions in order to improvise the government schools.

e)    To take measures to improve infrastructure facilities in schools (class rooms, library, good midday meals, safe drinking water, play materials, toilets) so that enrolment and retention will be more in the schools.

f)     Government should ensure that all school-age children should be in schools and take measures to completely eradicate the Child Labour system.

g)    A state-level commission should be appointed to look into the possibility of implementing Common School System.

h)    To constitute State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in the State.

 

The above advocacy efforts by PVCR-TS resulted in Education Minister announcing on 01-10-2014 that rationalization of schools will not be done but rationalization will be limited to only teachers.  Education Minister has reviewed the concerns expressed by various teachers’ unions and people’s organizations like PVCR and decided not to go ahead with closure/merger of schools.  He has also categorically said that it is not their government’s policy to close-down the schools.  He also said that irrespective of number of children in the schools, the government would continue all the schools.  The Minister also said that the G.O. No. 6 would be modified to effect only rationalization of teachers and not schools.

 

This was a very successful advocacy by PVCR-TS which resulted in protecting about 3900 government schools in the State of Telangana.

 

2)      State level consultation on CLPRA amendment Bill:

 

  • Jointly conducted with CACL at Hyderabad.
  • Swami Agnivesh was the Chief Guest.
  • More than 400 people participated.

 

 

 

 

3)    PVCR Election advocacy campaign:

 

 

PVCR members prepared a child rights manifesto in March 2014, keeping in view the assembly and general elections that were due in the first quarter of 2014-15.  PVCR members in different districts met with many contesting MP and MLA candidates and discussed about the importance of including the CR manifesto points into their party manifestos.  This CR manifesto pamphlets were also distributed among public and public were urged to send out a clear message to all the political parties that their support would be to those political parties which assure of protecting the child rights.  Apart from this, the pamphlets were affixed at various community-based institutions, government offices and other public places so that more and more people will be aware of the situation of child rights and express their solidarity to the cause.  All the PVCR members actively advocated for the cause of child rights during election advocacy campaign.

 

4)    Advocacy on JJ Bill:

 

PVCR members sent the petition, seeking no change in the current definition of child as upto 18 years, sent to all the members of Parliament from Telangana State – both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha before the Bill was taken up for discussion in parliament. 

 

PVCR members conducted signature campaigns at Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda and Karimnagar.  About 1000 signatures were collected from each District and the memorandum was sent to the President of India.  PVCR also held discussions with NATSAP Network (Network Against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in Andhra Pradesh) and made them too to collect signatures against lowering the age in JJ Act.  NATSAP also collected signatures from their network areas and submitted to the President of India.