Maharashtra: First RTE kids staring at full fee burden in two years

NAGPUR: In another two and half years, the first batch of students admitted in private schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act will lose the privilege of free education. They will have to either pay the full fees or leave their school.

Students who took admission in Std I in 2012-13 will enter Std VII in 2018, which is the threshold for free education under RTE Act. This means 2019, a year when both general and state elections are scheduled, will be the last year of them getting free education. From 2020 onwards, they will have to start paying as they enter Std IX.

For private unaided schools that have been pressing for full payment of RTE bills, this seems a perfect opportunity. They realize the time to build up pressure is now. Sanjay Tayde-Patil, founder of Maharashtra English Schools Trustees Association, said, “On Thursday we will be taking out a morcha in Nagpur to ensure people who matter listen to our demands. For too long, our RTE bills have been kept pending, with just a small fraction being given in phases. The government must understand we cannot function like this. I am sure the government cannot afford the political fallout of so many students being asked to pay up.”

Many expect the government will come up with some amendment to RTE Act that will ensure these students are not left stranded. Tayde-Patil said, “Maybe they will extend free education up to Std X or XII because there’s no way these students will be asked to end their schooling or shift to government schools.”

Consequences of expelling non-paying students is not something even schools want to face. Tayde-Patil said, “We will be painted as villains and hunted by everyone. Hence, we want to include parents in our agitation and make them understand this development is going to affect them two years from now. And after that every year a new batch of students will face the problem.”

MESTA says their immediate strategy is to stop admissions if full RTE reimbursements are not received. “Somebody has to bear the expenses of students admitted under RTE quota and as of now the government is not doing it completely. If we cannot expel students, best way is to stop admissions completely,” said Tayde-Patil.

Source: Times Of India

Maharshtra : Enrolments in Mumbai’s civic schools drop by 50% in 8 years

The Right to Education Act (RTE), which allows free education to students from lower income groups, aspirations of parents wanting private schooling for their children, and poor quality of education imparted in civic schools have collectively resulted in more than 50% dip in enrolment in municipal schools across Mumbai.

Statistics shared by Praja Foundation have revealed that enrolments to Class 1 in BMC schools have fallen drastically from 63,392 in 2008-09 to 32,218 in 2016-17.

“One of the reasons for this dip is lack of quality education in BMC schools, owing to which parents are willing to pay fees of a private school over free education at municipal schools,” said Nitai Mehta, founder and managing trustee, Praja Foundation. She added that status of BMC’s Mumbai Public Schools (English medium) is much better than the older BMC schools in terms of enrolment and dropout rate.

On Tuesday, the NGO released its annual report on municipal education in Mumbai. Other than low enrolment rate, this report also highlighted that the rate of dropout has fallen by more than 50% in the past one year.

“Last year, 15 out of 100 students were dropping out of BMC schools. But this year the number is eight dropouts per 100 students. The BMC has been doing a lot to curb dropouts but no one seems to be doing anything about the dipping enrolment,” said Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja Foundation.

Mahesh Palkar, BMC education officer, told HT that RTE as well as parents’ attitude towards municipal schools has resulted in a drop in children taking admissions at civic schools.

“We conducted seven rounds of school survey to find students who didn’t attend school for months and have managed to get them back. But with RTE in place, we can’t force parents to send their children to our schools,” he said.

The NGO interviewed 2,758 parents, of which most respondents complained about the poor quality education and lack of basic amenities at municipal schools as the primary reasons for them to shift the children to private schools.

“Of late, the BMC has been pushing for better accountability in their schools. But their approach is not the best. The BMC plans to fine teachers if students don’t fair well. However, they should focus on training teachers more. Instead of just blaming the teachers, other senior officials should also be made accountable,” added Mehta.

Nitin Wadhwani, founder and director, Citizen’s Association for Child Rights, said the problem seems to be with the preconceived image of BMC schools in parents’ minds.

“BMC schools are doing well in terms of infrastructure and implementation of latest technology. But they fail to provide basic training to their teachers, which ultimately shows in their results,” he said.

Wadhwani added that BMC needs to focus on spending funds in right places. “Only when parents see real change, will they trust the BMC schools again.”

Source: Hindustan Times

TamilNadu | Hundreds log in for RTE admissions

On Day 1, Chennai has the highest number of applicants; online counters to be open till May 18

Online applications under the Right to Education (RTE) Act opened up at the midnight of April 20 and the first application was received by the education department as early as 12.48 a.m. from a parent in East Tambaram.

At 7.50 p.m. on day 1 of the process, the School Education Department had received 1,246 applications.

Speaking to The Hindu, School Education Secretary T. Udhayachandran said the department had gone ahead with initiating an online process for RTE admissions to bring in more transparency. “We had previously heard reports about a few schools refusing to admit students under the RTE and through this process, there will be fewer roadblocks for parents. While schools are allowed to issue RTE forms, they have been instructed to upload the details online as well or send the forms to the education offices in their area,” Mr. Udhayachandran said.

Chennai education district received the highest number of RTE applications from parents, followed by Tiruvallur and Salem education districts.

A parent filling in the RTE form online can view the seats available and select the schools in their respective areas. Parents who apply are then sent a confirmation with an SMS once the form has been submitted.

e-seva centres

While the department has only partly taken applications online, parents can approach the e-seva centres in their districts or can seek help from the District Education Offices to submit forms in case they don’t have access to computers. The online counters for RTE applications will be open till May 18. With a number of private schools taking their admission process online, the move to shift RTE admissions online was welcomed by educationalists as it would streamline the process. Earlier this month, the education department had announced that it was taking the process partly online and had published the list of schools and seats available online as well.

“If there are educational districts which receive more applications than the number of seats available, the Education Department will arrange for lots to be picked. This will not be online, but will be done manually in front of the parents and children to ensure that they are aware of the process,” Mr. Udhayachandran said.

Source: The Hindu

Tamil nadu | Online RTE admissions from April 20

With 5,138 seats in 669 matriculation schools, the Tiruvallur education district has the highest number of seats available under the Right to Education Act for the 2017-18 academic year.

The admissions will also be done online in Tamil Nadu this year and will be open from April 20 through the website of the School Education Department.

The facility to have online counters for RTE admissions is already in place in New Delhi and Maharashtra.

Under the RTE Act, 25% of the seats at the entry level classes in schools should be earmarked for students from the weaker sections of the society.

The School Education Department has separately provided details about the seats available under the RTE Act in matriculation schools as well as nursery schools in each district online in a move to help parents identify institutions in their neighbourhood.

The Chennai and Kancheepuram educational districts follow Tiruvallur with 4,914 seats and 4,042 seats which have been set aside under the RTE Act.

e-seva centres

To use the online service, parents can approach the e-seva centres in their districts or can seek help from the District Education Offices. Parents who apply for admissions online will receive a confirmation with an SMS, an official from the Education Department said.

While the online counters for RTE applications will be kept open till May 18, parents will be able to go to the educational institutions in person and apply, as well as submit RTE forms.

The move to take the application process partly online for RTE seats has been welcomed by educationists and activists many of whom have been appealing to the government for the past few years to make the process more transparent and fair.

“Making the RTE applications available online will hopefully streamline the process. There have been several instances where people have gone to schools with recommendations and money to buy seats set aside under the RTE Act, and we hope this will come down,” said K.R. Nandhakumar, State general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary and Matriculation Schools Association.

The State government, in a statement, said that ₹125 crore has been allotted for students who were admitted under the RTE Act in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and who continue studying in schools across the State.

The settlements will reach the educational institutions soon, the statement added.

Source: The Hindu

EWS quota admissions to go online; parents and activists up in arms

The eligible candidates will then be allotted schools and a notification will be sent on the cellphone of parents, who will have to then confirm the admission of their ward in the selected school, said the official.

The admission for 25 per cent reservation under the Right to Education (RTE) for the economically and socially backward students in the state will go online from the next academic year. This has, however, irked activists and parents. who alleged that the process gives freedom to school managements to fix the entry level for admission.

An official from the education department said that as per the RTE admission procedure, once the education department announces the schedule, the parents of the beneficiary students will have to fill up forms with details and choice of schools. These forms have to be submitted to the nearest help centre.

After receiving all the forms, documents are scrutinised by the officers and a list of eligible candidates is announced. The eligible candidates will then be allotted schools and a notification will be sent on the cellphone of parents, who will have to then confirm the admission of their ward in the selected school, said the official.

Source: The Indian Express

RTE backlog: Schools ordered to admit 10% more students

The Department of Public Instruction has issued a notification directing private schools which were part of a court case, to admit an additional 10% of students under the Right to Education Act (RTE) 2009, as per high court orders.

National Public School, Sharada Vidyalaya, New Horizon Educational and Cultural Trust, Sindhi School and others had approached the high court, contending that they were linguistic minority institutions and therefore exempted from admitting students under the Right to Education Act.

The 10% is treated as a backlog since students were deprived of admission for the past three years while the case before the court. This allocation is in addition to the 25% seats prescribed under the Act.

The schools had denied seats following a stay order by the high court. The court has directed these schools to admit the students under the Right to Education Act this year.

Source : www.deccanherald.com

Uttar Pradesh | RTE admissions to go online in UP from next year

The admission process under Right to Education (RTE) in Uttar Pradesh will be conducted online from next academic session for easy scaling, improved transparency and better child tracking.

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has directed the basic education department to introduce the online system, saying it will help in completing the admission process faster. Yadav believes that the online system will help draw more admission forms and more children from economically weaker section will be able to get admission.

The state government will introduce the fully integrated Management Information System from January 2017 to help speed up the admission process which otherwise runs up to July. Presently, the entire thing is done manually.

UP has a potential of 6 lakh admissions each year under RTE’s section 12(1)(c). Using an online system would improve capacity, efficiency as well as transparency and as the demand goes up in the coming academic sessions, the current system won’t be able to handle such a large volume, an official said.

This system would also help track children once they are in the school system. With over 20,000 admissions in UP in the last two years, the present manual management system for application and its processing are cumbersome leading to delays and inefficiency.

Read more | RTE admissions: 1,618 seats find 200 takers in Round 2

“Rajasthan and Maharashtra have been the front runners in the implementation of the RTE online model. For the academic year 2014-15, Rajasthan had the online system for the entire state and Maharashtra piloted it in selected areas of Mumbai and Pune,” Samina Bano, chairperson of Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation, said.

“This year Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka rolled out an online MIS system for RTE section 12 implementation across their states,” she added.

More than 15,000 students have enrolled in schools across 49 of 75 districts in Uttar Pradesh this year so far under the right to education act that mandates 25% reservation for children from economically and socially disadvantaged sections in private unaided institutes.

Read more: MP to make RTE admission online from this year

This is more than 3 times compared to last year when 4,400 poor children got admission in over 500 private schools in only 26 districts. The total number of children admitted in 2012, 2013 and 2014 was only 108 in the state.

The maximum number of students to get admission under the act were in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, where 3,318 poor children are now going to school.

India enacted the landmark RTE act in 2009, giving children from poor and other disadvantaged backgrounds the right to free and compulsory education to the age of 14.s in 2011 but they were implemented only in December.

Source : Hindustan Times

Madhya Pradesh| 70% RTE quota seats not filled in MP

Seventy percent of the seats allotted under the Right to Education (RTE) quota in Madhya Pradesh are left vacant this year even as there was a delay of over 10 months in the allotment.

The RTE Act guarantees every child right to full-elementary education and mandates reservation of a minimum of 25% seats to provide free schooling to poor students in all private unaided primary schools.

Admission of students under the Right to Education in different schools takes place in January every year. This year only 1.70 lakh students took the benefit of the admission scheme though more than 4 .2 lakh seats are reserved under the RTE quota in Madhya Pradesh.

For the poor response, parents blamed an online-admission process the state government introduced this year for the allocation of the seats.

“This year the seats were allotted through an online lottery system. The process was very tedious. One had to fill a long form, which was earlier done at the block offices, and attach the documents online. Documents were verified only after one received a SMS confirming selection under the RTE. The process was very complicated,” said Meena Srivas, a parent who had applied for seat under the RTE quota for her child.

The government, however, differed with the parents.

“Majority of the seats are left vacant because parents like to avail the facility only in a few selected schools. They are not interested to put their children in any school we offer them through lottery,” said KPS Tomar, an education department official overseeing the RTE seats allotment.

“Earlier the process was manual so admission fixing was rampant, but it was streamlined by introducing the online process,” he added.

Rajya Shiksha Kendra (RSK) in February found lot of irregularities in the manual allotment process and decided to make the process online.

Accordingly, the School Education Department had collaborated with the National Information Centre (NIC) to develop the software for the purpose, but the latter failed to develop it within the stipulated time, causing the delay in the online process.

RSK commissioner Deepti Gaur Mukherjee the state government also decided to reimburse fees to the eligible candidates online to make the process more transparent and check manipulation.

Madhya Pradesh government through RSK reimburses around Rs 3500 per student, who is entitled for the seat under RTE quota.

In Bhopal alone 30,000 children took the benefit of the reimbursement in the past four years, but sources said the number of children actually enrolled in schools under the scheme was much less.

Source : Hindustan Times

MUMBAI|RTE admissions to start early

Mumbai : Learning from its past mistakes, the civic body’s education department is planning to start admissions to 25 percent seats in private unaided schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act early for the next academic year.

The process is expected to begin this month for the academic year beginning from June 2017. While classes had begun in June, this year the process went on from March till September. The previous year it had continued till December-January.

It is a time consuming process with the schools having to register first, followed by parents who register for their children’s admission after which the seats are allotted and finally the admission process entails three rounds. This academic year, out of the over 6,000 who were alloted seats, only around 2,500 finally took admission.

Officials said parents had not shown interest to approach schools as they had not got a school of their preference, while there were complaints that many schools were denying admissions. Parents admitted children to either a civic or private school since the RTE admission process was being indefinitely delayed, besides some schools turning down the admissions.

Schools had to update the admission status of children alloted seats on the education department’s website.

Source : The Free Press Journal

Mumbai | RTE does not apply to minority schools, says HC

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court (HC) has reiterated that Right To Education (RTE) Actdoes not apply to religious and linguistic minority schools.

Hearing a petition filed by Federation of Linguistic & Religious Minority Education Institutions, a division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Mahesh Sonak quashed orders of the state government rejecting proposals by 10 school managements to open unaided minority English-medium primary schools on the grounds that they did not comply with RTE norms.

The HC asked the state to reconsider the applications as per law. “We are of the opinion that the rejection to the proposals submitted… was not proper, particularly since such rejections failed to take into consideration the law as declared by the Supreme Court,” said the judges.

The HC referred to the 2014 apex court order that held that provisions of RTE do not apply to aided or unaided minority institutions. The apex court had said that if RTE law were made applicable to such institutions, it would violate their rights and destroy the minority character of the schools.

 The RTE, enacted in 2009, says that all private schools that receive government aid and grants have to reserve at least 25% of seats for the poor and other categories of children who will be provided free, compulsory education.
The government reimburses expenses to schools. In 2010, the state invited applications for opening new schools in the state. The state education department received over 7,475 applications. In 2013, it rejected the applications as they did not comply with the RTE Act.
The Federation and the 10 schools approached the HC, challenging the rejection orders. The Federation claimed that the 2014 law made it clear that RTE does not apply to aided or unaided minority educational institutions.