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

Maharashtra: BMC to launch app for RTE admission ease

For the upcoming academic year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is creating a mobile phone application to ease the admission process for students applying to seats reserved under the Right to Education Act, 2009. Admissions through the centralized online process are expected to begin in the last week of January, earlier than usual.
All unaided non-minority schools in the city are expected to reserve 25% of their seats at the entry level for students from economically weaker sections. Admissions to these seats are conducted through a series of online lotteries conducted by the BMC.

Officials from the civic education department said, “Once the app is ready, we will finalize the admission schedule such that it is completed before vacation begins. Earlier, the admission process went on up to May and parents complained that they missed it.” Last year, the admission process started in February.
According to the tentative schedule, schools will begin registrations on January 22 and the portal will be thrown open to applicants on January 24. The BMC plans to conduct six rounds of lottery and complete the process by April 24.
Activists, however, feel the initiatives won’t benefit unless loopholes in the process are fixed. “Schools are expected to register every year. This way, some of them may try to wriggle out of the process. Also, the age limit for students with disabilities must be done away with,” said Sudhir Paranjpe, member of the NGO Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Andolan. “The BMC should also ensure that schools allotted to the students actually complete the admissions because often students are turned away on frivolous grounds.”
The Unaided Schools Forum, which is still awaiting reimbursements since a few years, will meet to decide whether or not to boycott the admission process this year.

Source: Times of India

Maharashtra: RTE registration to begin on Jan 24

Online registration under Right to Education (RTE) will be conducted between January 24 and February 10 for the 2018-19 academic session. Certain changes have been made in the registration procedure to ensure underprivileged children are able to take advantage of free and compulsory education.

The details were given during a press conference organized by the education department (primary) of Zilla Parishad on Tuesday.
Education officer (primary) Dipendra Lokhande said, “The number of schools guardians can choose during registration has been limited to 10. Last year’s issue where multiple schools were shortlisted for one student has now been rectified and one student will be allotted one school. We have also provided relief in documentation for children of widows, divorced parents and orphans.”

The state Directorate of Primary Education will soon be launching a mobile application for online registrations. The application will allow guardians to select schools in their vicinity through Google Maps on their phones. The application will initially be launched for Android platforms.
Registration of schools under RTE which began on Wednesday and continue till January 20 followed by the verification process on January 22 and 23. There will be six rounds of lottery on February 12, 26, March 8, 20, April 3 and 16 following online registration for guardians.
The final list showing the number of vacant seats in RTE schools will be displayed on April 25 and 26. There is no requirement for uploading documents like Aaadhar, PAN or passport during filing of online application form. However, guardians are required to produce these documents while admission of their wards in the shortlisted schools.
Those seeking benefit under RTE can log on to https://student.maharashtra.gov.in, create an account and fill the online registration form. People seeking more information can contact NGO RTE Action Committee on helpline number 8796121213.

Source: Times of India

Maharashtra: Private schools to get 2,000 more from state for each RTE pupil

Students enrolled in private schools under provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2009, will get around Rs 2,000 more as annual reimbursement.

The state government has hiked the per annum reimbursement. As per a government resolution issued by the education department, private schools will now receive up to Rs 17,670 per year for every student from economically weaker section – a hike of almost Rs 2,000. The amount was Rs 13,474 in the 2014-15 academic year.

All unaided non-minority schools in the city are expected to reserve 25% of their seats at entry level for students from economically weaker sections. The state reimburses the school for the student who studies there for free.
The schools will be paid Rs 17,670 or the actual spending on the student, whichever is lower.
Each year, approximately 3.000 students get admission in private schools through a lottery conducted by the civic body.
While schools have welcomed the hike in payout but have also demanded to know how the government arrived at the new amount.

Source: Times of India

Delhi: Parents cry foul after school asks EWS students to pay fees

A group of parents from the economically weaker section (EWS) claimed that a private school in south Delhi, where their children study, had asked them to pay fees from April next year as the institute cannot extend free education to the children.

Parents said that St George’s School in Alaknanda issued them a circular last week informing about the decision of the school, after which they held a protest on Wednesday and also submitted a letter to the Directorate of Education (DoE).

The circular said, “minority schools are exempted from giving free education to students by the government. Last two years, we were informing you about this. Now the school cannot extend the free education to your child due to this rising cost of expenditure in school. You have to pay fees for your ward in the next academic year 2018-2019 starting from April 2018.”

Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which was implemented in Delhi in 2011, all private schools were asked to admit students from EWS background on 25% of their seats. But a Supreme Court judgment exempted minority institutes from the ambit of the RTE in 2014.

“I am illiterate so I could not read the circular and asked one of my neighbours to read it. I am a driver and I cannot afford to pay so much fees. I will have to withdraw my child if the school insists that I pay the fees. We have written a letter to the DoE,” said the father of the child.

Atishi Marlena, advisor to education minister Manish Sisodia, said the DoE will on Thursday issue directions to the school that they can neither charge fee from EWS children nor can they ask them to leave the school.

“The children were admitted between 2011 and 2014 before the SC order exempted minority schools from following RTE. Those admitted before will have to be given free education as per RTE,” she said.

St George’s School principal Sara George maintained that none of the students will be asked to leave the school and students who are under EWS category will continue to get free education till Class 12.

“The circular was only a way to communicate with the parents so that they come to me and I can ask them to submit their latest income certificates. I want to cross check their income certificates so that only those who are actually under EWS get benefit of free education,” she said.

She said that she will meet the parents personally and resolve the issue.

Source: Hindustan Times

Delhi: Nursery admission rules for EWS category in January second week

The Delhi government is yet to announce the schedule and guidelines for nursery admissions in private schools under the economically weaker section (EWS) category, even as the application process under the open seats started on Wednesday.

All private unaided recognised schools ,except for minority institutions, have to keep 25% of their total seats reserved for EWS category under the Right to Education (RTE). Children whose parents earn less than Rs 1 lakh a year are eligible for admission under the category.

An official from the directorate of education (DoE) said the notification to start the online registration process for EWS category admission will come in second week of January.

“We are collecting data from all schools regarding the number of seats under EWS category to finalize the total seats available. We will announce the schedule in January, but broadly it will be same as open category admission schedule. It will end by March 31,” an official handling DoE’s private school branch said.

Till last year, nursery admission under EWS category were done online for around 1,100 schools that come under the Delhi School Education Act and Rules (DSEAR), 1973. The rest of the schools recognised under the RTE Act, 2009, conducted admission manually by giving out application forms.

However, the DoE official said that this year all 1,700 private schools, are likely to conduct nursery admissions through the online system.

This will mean that parents will fill an online application form after which a computerized lottery will be done to allot schools to applicants.

“Till last year only those schools which were under DSEAR, 1973, had to do EWS admission through centralized computerised lottery system. But now we are likely to include the rest of the schools in the system to have a uniform process for all schools,” the official said.

EWS admissions in nursery classes have been under scanner due to large number of seats remaining vacant. For the last academic year (2017-18) out of the over 27,000 seats under the category, only about 19,000 seats had been filled.

Source: Hindustan Times

Karnataka: RTE reservation likely to be extended to aided schools

Parents hoping to get a seat for their children under the RTE quota for the 2018–19 academic year have reason to cheer as the number of schools they can choose from is set to expand.

With the aim of improving the efficacy of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the State government is planning to ensure that aided schools too start reserving seats for students from weaker sections in the neighbourhood. “We are in the process of maoking changes to ensure that scope of the RTE Act is extended to aided institutions and we will ensure that the right beneficiaries are selected,” said Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait. As per Section 12 (1) (b) of the RTE Act, aided schools shall provide free and compulsory elementary education to such proportion of children admitted based on the annual recurring aid or grants so received bears their annual recurring expenses, subject to a minimum of 25%.

Souce: The Hindu