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News : Not Many Takers for Toll-free Helpline
Pune, India, Aug 13, 2015 -- Issues regarding admissions under the 25% RTE quota and late salary disbursal to teachers form the bulk of complaints received on the toll free helpline started by the state education department on March 7.
About 60-70 calls are received on the helpline number every day, which the commissioner of education Purushottam Bhapkar, admits is far less compared to problems faced by citizens. He acknowledged that the department needs to publicize the facility and ensure the complaints received are followed up.
As many as 1,669 calls have been received on the toll-free number in the last five months. Three officers of the State Council for Education Research and Training (SCERT) handle the calls between 10 am and 5.45 pm every day.
The complaints are taken down with details like the name of the complainant, contact number and residential address among others. The complaints are then forwarded to the section concerned in the education department.
Bhapkar, who took stock of the complaints received so far, said the number of calls does not reflect the true picture. "There are many more issues related to education that are raised time and again. I believe we should have received 1,669 calls every month."
Bhapkar said the department failed to publicize the toll-free number. "We have probably not done enough to ensure the facility is known to a large number of people. When the helpline was established in March, we did a little bit of publicity by announcing it on websites of education department and select newspapers, but now we feel that was not enough," he said.
Bhapkar said the department will take more efforts to publicise the helpline in the coming weeks by creating television and radio commercials. "We will also put up posters in every school, education office, public places," he said.
Sitaram Meshram, principal of a municipal school in Bhawani Peth, said, "The helpline was established five months ago but the awareness about it is poor. At school level, we did our bit by writing the number on the notice board."
Bhapkar has also asked the officers handling the helpline to prepare a weekly report of the complaints received and their categories. A follow up with the caller about whether his/her complaint was redressed by the section concerned will also be done. He said that students facing harassment, both sexual and mental, in school and outside can also use the same helpline to alert authorities.
Types of complaints
-Schools denying admissions to students under 25% reservation scheme of the Right to Education Act
-Teachers unhappy about delay in disbursal of salaries
-Technical difficulties in filing online database of students enrolment for the year
-Problems related to admissions in first year junior college
-Fee hike in schools
-Absence of lady attendants in school buses
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About State Council for Education Research and Training:
State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Delhi is an autonomous body of the Government of Delhi. It is a nodal agency recognized by the National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE) for admission, curriculum construction, course conduct, guidance, examination and certification of pre-service training programme in the area of pre-primary teacher education and elementary education.
Published: Friday, August 14, 2015