IMPHAL, Feb 11: Basic rights, including the right to education, food etc must be ensured for all internally displaced children due to the ongoing crisis in Manipur, Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) said in an advisory to concerned authorities of Manipur government.
The MCPCR issued the advisory while showing serious concern about the educational rights of internally displaced students. It urged the state Education department and all concerned zonal education officers (ZEOs) to ensure that children between the ages of six and 18 years do not drop out of school.
All school authorities, including private schools were also advised not to expel students or discontinue their studies simply because their parents or guardians are unable to pay tuition fees or if their parents or guardians have lost their lives due to the crisis.
“If children are forced to leave school due to the conflict, the school authorities must take steps to refund any admission or other fees already paid or deposited at the time of admission, especially if the amount is substantial,” the MCPRC stated in the advisory.
As the new academic session approaches, the state education department must also ensure that all internally displaced children are enrolled in schools and provided with uniforms, textbooks, and stationary items on a priority basis, it stated.
It further asked private school authorities to comply with the reservation of 25% under RTE norms and provide sponsorship and concessional fee facilities to needy displaced students according to their capacity and on a case-by-case basis.
The authorities must also provide a Remedial Education Programme to needy displaced children on a regular and need-based basis, it added.
The MCPRC further suggested that every relief center should reserve a “Learning Centre” exclusively for children, where they can freely read, study, engage in life skill activities, participate in recreational programs, and revise what they have been taught in schools.
Other advisories include ensuring the right to food, access to medicines, and the arrangement of recreational activities, sports, arts, and culture.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha in August last year, Union minister of State for Education Annapurna Devi had stated that 14,763 school-going children have been displaced as a result of the ongoing ethnic crisis in Manipur.
She further noted that over 93% of these displaced children have successfully enrolled in the nearest schools, aided by designated nodal officers appointed for each relief camp to streamline the admission process for such students. (NNN)