Childline, an NGO in Kerala, complained to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) that a certain family was not sending their child to school. The complain was made in October 2015. The family was summoned to the CWC, which asked them to file an affidavit. After lengthy discussions and help from advocates, here is their reply.
Child Welfare Committee
Mini Civil Station, Thodupuzha
REPLY TO PETITION BY CHILD LINE DATED 21.10.2015
- I submit the following facts for your kind consideration and favourable action in reply to the petition filed by Child Line dated 21.10.2015.
- It is submitted that the petition filed by Child Line is factually and legally wrong and untenable.
- It is submitted that I am imparting education to my child Jislia aged 7 years under the home-schooling system. I am taking every effort to ensure that my child is educated and prepared for life. None of my child’s rights are affected.
- It is submitted that resorting to home-schooling is not connected to the financial capacity of the parent. Rather it is based on the willingness of the parent to take extra and strenuous effort to teach his own child. It is submitted that many parents are only interested in income and career advancement and have outsourced the education of children as a whole to the schools. Home-schooling involves tremendous effort and painstaking care on the part of the parent.
- It is submitted that the petition filed against the home-schooling of my child is in fact an attempt to unnecessarily harass a parent who is in fact more committed and sincere to educate his child. The rights of my child are in fact more protected since I am taking the extra effort to impart education.
- It is submitted that provisions of the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE for short) have been misconstrued. The provisions of the said Act only cast a duty upon the State for educating a child. S.8 imposes a duty upon the appropriate Government to provide free and compulsory education to every child. The very same S.8 excludes any parent from claiming any reimbursement of expenditure incurred in an elementary school other than the one established, owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Government.
- It is submitted that the said exclusion clearly makes out a case where the child is not being sent to a Government school. Hence there is no duty cast upon the parent to send his child to a school that is not up to the mark in his/her opinion.
- It is submitted that S.10 of the RTE Act is to be read in the light of the exclusion provided in S.8 of the very same Act. The parent has the option to teach the child more effectively in the best possible school which can be done by resorting to home-schooling method as well.
- It is submitted that there is no absolute bar in the RTE Act preventing a parent from ensuring that his child is educated through home-schooling method. This is further fortified by the fact that there is no penal provision in the RTE Act to be enforced against any parents. The Parliament has in its wisdom decided not to penalise a parent for not sending his/her child to school since the Parliament understands that parents may have compelling reasons which prevent school education.
- It is submitted that I am fully complying with the moral duty cast upon me by S.10 of the RTE Act by taking every effort to educate my child. S.10 does not compel a parent who does not wish to avail the rights of the child under S.3 for free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school. The existence of a right and exercise thereof are distinct and severable.
- It is submitted that even the petition does not have a case that I am not educating my child. The fact remains that I am taking more care for my child and educating her. The methodology adopted by me as a parent is not illegal or unlawful. Home-schooling is a widely accepted method even in the most advanced nations.
- It is submitted that I am home-schooling my child in her best interests and for her utmost welfare. It is submitted that I have not violated any child rights. Rather I have taken utmost care of my child and her rights to the best of my abilities. I am providing individual care and attention for her education. I humbly submit that I may not be penalised in any manner for being a caring, loving and sincere parent.
In the above facts and circumstances, it is humbly requested that all proceedings in pursuance of petition dated 21.10.2015 filed by Child Line may be dropped in the interests of justice and fairness.