Maharashtra – RTE admission crisis: Education department blinks first, extends registration deadline to buy time

NAGPUR: To tide over the current RTE admission boycott crisis, Maharashtra’s education department has extended the deadline for schools to register online till January 25. The original deadline of Saturday became untenable after approximately 3,000 private unaided schools decided to stay away from the RTE admission process because of non-payment of dues. While deadlines have been extended in previous years as well, given this year’s stand-off between school associations and education department, the latest deadline extension is seen as the government coming under pressure.
School associations are refraining from officially commenting on the education department’s deadline extension and claiming a moral victory, as they do not want to “antagonize” the already strained relationship. A local school trustee, said, “The ball is now in the government’s court. We have made our stand clear and we can’t be reacting for every action they take. The deadline extension is clearly a case of them blinking first but still it is not a statement. Maybe they are willing to talk to us, maybe they are hoping to drive a wedge between us by luring some schools to the other side. It’s better for us to keep quiet for now and wait for something concrete to happen.”

Various school associations have now come together under a common federation to put up a united face. Rajendra Singh, secretary of Independent English Schools Association (IESA), said, “On January 27, we will be addressing a press conference in Mumbai in which other association members will also be there.”
While the schools have adopted a wait and watch policy, the education department is trying the micro-management strategy. Dipendra Lokhande, district’s education officer, said, “There are 253 schools in Nagpur district that have not registered for RTE yet, and the admission process cannot move ahead till every single school submits the form online. We will now be asking our officials to follow up with individual schools under their area and get the process moving.”
But even Lokhande admits that as of now his officials can only ‘request’ and not take any action. “Action against schools is a decision that has to be taken at the state-level. I will follow whatever orders come from superiors. For now, we will just speak with principals and see that they do not face any problems while registering,” said Lokhande.
Now all eyes will be on January 27 when all school associations are planning to address a joint press conference. Though deadline for registration in January 25 midnight, the government won’t take any immediate action against schools with the next day being a public holiday. Another school trustee, who manages a multi-branch institute, said, “After one week, only two things will happen. Either school associations back down after accepting some written assurance from state government, or all hell breaks loose with the education department initiating strong action like derecognition of schools.”

Source: The Times of India

Maharashtra: 23 CBSE schools decide to boycott RTE admissions due to non-payment of dues by Maha govt

23 CBSE schools from Nagpur have decided to boycott the RTE (Right To Education) admission process for 2018-19 academic session because of non-payment of dues by the Maharashtra government. These 23 schools came under the banner of a newly formed organization called Nagpur CBSE Private School Management Association and have written to the Deputy Director of Education making it clear that they won’t be registering their schools online for RTE. So far, the education department has not reacted as the deadline for RTE registration ends on Saturday midnight.

The letter signed by association chairperson, Neeru Kapai, has made it clear that unless and until all RTE dues are cleared, their member schools won’t be admitting any students. Kapai is co-founder of Modern School which has two branches with almost 5,000 students.

Another organization which has both CBSE and state board schools as its members, will be taking a final call on RTE admission boycott on Saturday. Independent English Schools Association (IESA) executive body will be meeting in Nagpur where its member-schools from eastern Maharashtra will decide on boycotting RTE registrations. Rajendra Dayma, vice-president of IESA, said, “Already in Jalna district we have boycotted the process and hope that schools in Nagpur too take a similar call. IESA has also approached the Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court over non-payment of RTE dues by state government.”

As per the RTE Act, private unaided (non-minority) schools reserve 25% of their seats for free admissions to students selected by respective state governments under RTE norms. In lieu of these free admissions, schools receive a fixed amount per year, per child. For academic session 2017-18 this fee was approximately Rs.17,000 per child. However, payments by the government have been sporadic with many getting part payments hardly 30% of their total dues.

Since RTE lottery and student selection process is online, schools have to register on the education department portal giving details of the seat availability. This registration had to be completed by midnight of January 20 in Nagpur. With the 23 schools already deciding to pull out, and chances of dozen or more members of IESA doing the same, it remains to be seen how the education department will handle the crisis.

Source: The Times of India

Karnataka: No change in RTE entry process in coming academic year

Bringing relief to parents pinning their hopes on getting their children admitted in private, unaided schools under the Right to Education (RTE) quota in the coming academic year, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait has shot down the Education Department’s proposal to tweak the norms governing the RTE admission process.

Earlier this month, Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary of the department, proposed that students applying for RTE quota seats be admitted to government or aided schools in their neighbourhoods, and to private schools only if there are no government or aided schools in the vicinity.

On January 12, Mr. Sait rejected the proposal citing the need for the State rules under the RTE Act, 2009 to be amended before making any changes to the admission process. He said the proposed amendments need to be placed before the Cabinet for approval, and then in both Houses of the State legislature. As the process will take time, in the coming year the process followed in the past years should be retained, he said.

However, he said, the question of tweaking the Act can be considered based on the Kerala model after taking inputs from different stakeholders.

The move to amend the Act has come under criticism as most wards in the city have a government and aided school, and changing the rules would mean that chances of a child getting admission under the RTE quota in a private school will be ruled out. Sources also suggested that the State government did not want to introduce these changes in an election year.

However, another section of experts had batted for the proposed amendments believing they may help channelise funds — currently being spent on reimbursement for seats in private unaided schools — to government schools. In the 2017-2018 academic year alone, the State government is estimated to spent close to ₹350 crore on reimbursement.

Source: The Hindu

Chandigarh: Economically weaker section admissions likely to be delayed again

The economically weaker section (EWS) admissions in the city might be delayed again this year with the UT education department yet to get clarity on percentage of seats to be reserved by private schools under land allotment scheme and under the Right to Education Act.
Department had last week claimed that the issue will be clarified that week but even as submission came to an end on Monday, the situation remained the same as it was in December last year.
When contacted ,the director school education (DSE), who was in Delhi for a meeting on Monday told TOI, “It is under active consideration.”
With no clarity from the estate office so far on the percentage of seats to be reserved by the private schools under EWS, and the description of nominal fees, the admissions under the EWS quota is likely to suffer further as dates are expected to be extended further if things are not clarified within a week. This issue has been hanging fire from the past seven years.
On December 5, the education secretary, UT Chandigarh, B L Sharma and Independent Schools Association held a meeting with assistant estate officer Amit Talwar to seek clarity on percentage of seats to be reserved by private minority and non-minority schools in Chandigarh under the land allotment scheme. However, they could arrive to no conclusion.
Thereafter, the education department had written to the estate office asking them to clarify on the percentage of seats. Under Right to Education Act, schools have to reserve 25% seats for EWS students. This 25% is inclusive of seats to be reserved under land allotment scheme. For seats under RTE Act, the education department pays the reimbursement. However, no reimbursement is given for seats reserved under land allotment scheme.
On the other hand private schools have closed the form submission on Monday.
Seats to be offered
As per the data gathered by the UT education department in the academic year 2018-19, private schools will be offering 710 seats to students from economically weaker section under Right to Education Act in 49 schools.
What’s the issue?
The notifications served to the schools under Law of Land 1996, 2001 and 2005 states that the schools have to reserve some percentage of seats for the economically weaker section and disadvantaged groups. The percentage differs for different schools. But in December 2016, the education department fixed it at 15% for all private schools, which did not go down well with the schools.

Source: The Times of India

Delhi Nursery admissions: EWS admissions from January 22

The Directorate of Education (DoE) on Wednesday released the guidelines for nursery admission to private unaided recognised schools under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS)/Disadvantaged Group (DG) category. The admission process will be done through computerised lottery system against the 25 per cent seats reserved for them as per the Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009.

All the private schools (except minority schools) were directed to update or correct their neighbourhood criteria — children residing within the 0-3 km radius — by January 15. The schools can also make the required corrections or asked for suggestions at their zonal offices between 10 am to 5 pm by January 18.

The admission portal will be open from January 22. A common registration form will available on DoE’s website (www.edudel.nic.in) for parents and schools. Schools also will have to use this form for the admission process.

Like last year, the schools have been directed to acknowledge the application through a proper receipt and a unique registration number. In case the application is rejected, the reason must be recorded and communicated to the parents. The DoE will also provide observers for a draw of lots during the admissions.

The last date for application is February 21 and the list of selected candidates will be out on March 7, followed by the subsequent lists.

According to the DoE’s notification, while those belonging to families with annual income less than Rs 1 lakh can apply under EWS category, the DG applicants will include SC/ST/OBC, children with disability as defined in the Right of Persons with Disability Act, 2016, orphans, transgender and children living with or affected by HIV.

Source: DNA India

Gujarat: New schools must give admission under RTE: High Court

In an important ruling, the Gujarat High Court has held that newly opened schools in the state must give admission to underprivileged students under the 25 per cent quota envisaged under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The court has also directed the government to contemplate action against educational institutions that flout the RTE law that came to force in 2009.

There are some 300 new schools that were given approval to start academic activity from 2017. However, their details had not been uploaded in the list of schools, thus excluding them from the RTE admission. The court issued direction following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by petitioner Sandip Munjyasara raising issue of newly opened schools being not mentioned on the online portal meant for RTE admissions. He filed the plea in court on November 22, 2017. He stated before the court that the state government had subtly skipped mentioning new schools on the web portal and this could facilitate the new schools to not perform their mandatory responsibility to give admission to the students from economically marginalized families.

He further submitted that all schools, irrespective of old or new, should grant admission to the poor students under the 25 per cent quota. However, authorities’ failure to upload the relevant details benefitted the schools. “The court has issued an important judgment regarding the new schools and they should not skip the admission process under the RTE act,” said Munjyasara. He further added that earlier, he had sought details of the newly approved schools from the government but it had not provided to him. “During the hearing, it came to light that there were some 300 new schools. Students were deprived of getting admission to these schools,” he said.

Source: Ahmedabad Mirror

Odisha: Youths on RTE mission

In an effort to ensure admission of students under the 25 per cent quota ensured by the Right to Education (RTE) Act in private schools, a group of youngsters has been visiting slums to create awareness about the rule and to help parents admit their wards to various schools ahead of the admission season.

The response to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, which guarantees every child the right to full-time elementary education, be it in private or public schools, has been poor not only in Bhubaneswar but across the state since it came into force in 2010. The Act mandates that a minimum of 25 per cent seats be kept free for children belonging to weaker sections of the society in all private unaided primary schools.

“Odisha is among the worst-performing states in terms of ensuring admissions to children under the RTE Act. Schools have been avoiding the implementation of the Act and have not been admitting underprivileged children under the quota. Lack of awareness among parents is a major reason for which children are deprived of their rights,” said Soumik Ghosal, founder of Desire Foundation.
Fifty volunteers of the foundation, comprising students of engineering colleges of the city, launched project ‘Adhyayan’ last year, as part of which they conducted a survey which revealed that almost 99 per cent parents in the city were unaware of the provisions of the RTE Act.
“Even if a few parents are aware of the act and admit their wards in elite schools, the children fail to cope with the environment and end up dropping out. We worked in a city slum last year and successfully admitted a few students from there to Future Bhubaneswar School. This motivated us to embark on the campaign this year, too,” Ghosal said. The team has covered seven slums in the city involving 600 families and 13 private schools.
“The children we admitted last year are doing fine,” said the principal of Future Bhubaneswar school, Matthew Thomas.

Source: The Times of India

Karnataka: Education Department plans to tweak RTE admission criteria

In a move that is likely to have an adverse impact on admission of children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in private schools, the Department of Primary and Secondary Education plans to change the criteria for admissions under the Right to Education (RTE) Act for the 2018-19 academic year.

Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary of the department, has proposed that students applying for RTE quota seats should first be admitted to government or aided schools in the neighbourhood. If there is no government or aided school in the vicinity, only then should they be allotted seats in private schools.

In her proposal made on January 6, she said the move would help the State government save crores of rupees, and address the problem of dwindling student strength in government schools. According to the prevailing practice, ‘neighbourhood’ is a revenue village in rural area, a ward in city corporation limits, and the entire jurisdiction in cases of urban local bodies.

Department sources said the idea was mooted along the lines of the Kerala model. However, many officials said this would be a severe blow to RTE quota in Karnataka. “Every ward in Bengaluru has a government and an aided school. If this rule comes into force, the chances of a child getting admission under RTE quota in a private school is ruled out,” an official said.

The sources said these changes could be implemented only after the State Cabinet approves them.

When contacted, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait said he was yet to look into the proposal. “Ensuring that students get admission under the RTE quota in private schools is the commitment of the government. We will ensure that the interests of parents and students are protected,” he said.

Parents, private schools criticise move

The proposal by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education to tweak the RTE admission criteria has been criticised by parents, parents’ associations as well as private school managements who feel that the move would “dilute” the provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

They said the government should not make changes without consulting all stakeholders. Parents who want their children to study in schools where the medium of instruction is English have raised concerns that this may not be possible if the proposal is implemented.

An auto driver, whose daughter is studying in class three in a private school under the RTE quota and who plans to enrol his son in the 2018–19 academic year, said, “Even though there are government and aided schools in my neighbourhood, I still prefer to admit my child in a private school because the school offers English as the medium of instruction in primary classes.”

Noting that the existing system benefited lakhs of students, B.N. Yogananda, general secretary of the RTE Students and Parents Association, said groups would work towards ensuring that it continues.

“If the new proposal of the department is implemented, the concept of social justice and social inclusion will have no meaning in the education sector,” he said.

Some experts, however, are in favour of the move and feel that it would give a boost to government schools. V.P. Niranjan Aradhya, fellow at the Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, said it would fulfil the primary obligation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act. The aim of the Act is to ensure that the onus of educating children between the ages of 6 to 14 falls on the State government.

“People, however, are concerned about the quality of education in government schools and there is a need for the State government to address the issue by fulfilling the norms and standards specified in the Act,” he said.

Source: The Hindu

Maharashtra: RTE admissions to begin from January 24

The admission process for students under the Right to Education (RTE) Act for 25 per cent reserved seats in primary schools of Pune, will begin from January 24. The registration of schools participating in the scheme, had already begun on Wednesday, January 3.

Under the current procedure for admissions, parents will have to fill the online applications for the school preferences citing names of only 10 schools, the officials of the education department informed.

The selection of schools from the list will then be finalised based on a lottery method. It is mandatory for the students to take admission in the school selected in the first phase itself. Those failing to abide by this and take admission in the very first option made available to them, will be disqualified from the admission process, a statement said. As per Sharad Gosavi, deputy director (Primary Education), and education officer, a detailed schedule has been prepared, which has been made available on the website. As per this schedule, all the schools are required to register themselves from January 3 to 20. Following registrations, these schools will be verified on January 22 and 23.

The parents, then, will be allowed to apply online for their wards’ admission by filling the online application from January 24 to February 10. The first phase of lottery will take place on February 12 and 13 and the admissions based on those results will have to be completed between February 14 and 22. This pattern will be followed in six rounds till the final lottery on April 16 and 17. Based on the final results, admissions will have to be completed between April 18 to 24. Also, students will be given only one chance of admission in schools that will be in a distance between one and three kilometers.

Further, a workshop to help parents and students understand the preparatory process for the admission was also organised on January 2. To extend more efficient assistance to the parents, an RTE portal has been set up – https://rte25admission.maharashtra.gov.in. The portal is to provide all the required information needed for admissions, like documents age condition, school guidance centre, helpline. All changes made to the processes will be uploaded on the portal.

Source: Hindustan Times

Bihar: Gaya district adminintration goes tough on private schools

Having received several complaints regarding non-implementation /violation of the provisions of Right to Education Act, the Gaya district administration has gone tough on private schools. As per the provisions of the Act, private schools are under obligation to admit 25% of students in Class I from the economically underprivileged sections. Besides providing free admission and education, the schools are under obligation to provide text books, note books and uniform to such children without any charge.

A couple of days back, district education officer Md Gheyasuddin convened a meet of the operators of the private schools of the district. As per records, there are 916 registered private schools in the district. The DEO gave a pep talk to the private school managers warning them against non-compliance of the RTE and threatened derecognition/disaffiliation in case the violations continue in academic session 2018-19.

District officials have also decided to make provision for online applications. A special app called ‘schooglink’ has also been developed for RTE beneficiaries. The admission process for RTE beneficiaries, according to district education officials would begin on January 15, 2018 and the entire process would be completed by March 15, 2018. Final selection of the beneficiaries would be made through lottery system from among the applicants and each guardian can apply for admission in three schools. Neighbourhood children are to be given preference in the matter of admission under the provisions of Right to Education Act.

Earlier, several schools took the plea that guardians did not turn up for admission. The online provision has been made for proper monitoring and record keeping. The school managements have been directed to depute computer proficient staff for the online education process.
The meeting also decided to create awareness among the beneficiary groups to avail facilities available to them under the provisions of the Right to Education Act.

Source: Times of India