Headmasters accountable for absentee students: HC

ALLAHABAD: In a significant order, the Allahabad High Court has ruled if any child in the age group of 6-14 years would be found out of school during school hours, it would be treated as a violation of Article 21-A of the Constitution. In such circumstances, action would be taken against headmasters, teachers, pradhans and village panchayat adhikaris concerned. The court also directed DMs, ADMs, SDMs and officials concerned to make a random inspection in at least 50 schools every week and take stringent action against absentee teachers. The court has also sought a progress report in this regard. The bench, comprising Justices Amar Saran and Shiv Shankar, passed the order on a writ petition filed by one VD Sharma. The court also issued certain guidelines for the welfare of minor children. It directed chief secretary and principal secretary (primary education) to assign a role to parents and NGOs for monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching and other activities in schools, including the progress of mid-day meal scheme. On the next hearing, principal secretary (primary education) will tell the court on the steps taken for improving the quality of teaching in schools and imparting training to teachers. The officer will inform the court on what steps are taken to assess the progress of such programmes. The court has also sought a response from the Uttar Pradesh government on its suggestion of setting up a computersied data bank of all schoolchildren in the age group of 6-14 years (and if possible to even put up such data on internet).
11 Jun 2008, 0359 hrs IST,TNN


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