Pune |RTE admissions: Dismal response forces authorities to start 2nd round of online applications

Following a poor response for admissions to the 25 per cent of seats reserved for economically backward students under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the district administration has decided to once again open online applications in a bid to fill more seats in the second round of admissions. The Indian Express had reported on September 3 that as compared to 1.20 lakh applications last year, the number of applications this year was considerably less at 77,000. The number of RTE admissions across the state has also taken a hit.

In Pune district, of the 17,000-odd seats available in 781 schools, only 8,222 have been filled. In over 200 schools, not a single RTE admission has been reported. Taking into account the poor performance, the district education department has opened the online admission forms from October 8 for a period of seven days. “Those parents who were unable to fill the forms in the previous round can do so in this round. We are going to display the area-wise schools and vacancies there, which parents can check. Parents who had filled forms in previous rounds but could not get admissions for their wards for whatever reasons can refill the preference form of schools, depending on available seats and distance. Also, those who were alloted schools for their wards but did not take admissions can also refill preference form. The only forms which cannot be altered are of those students who took part in previous round, were allotted seats and confirmed admissions,” said Mushtaq Shaikh, the district’s primary education officer.

Confirming that the decision has been taken to ensure more RTE admissions, he said that the situation was more grim in rural areas where very few applications had come in as compared to available seats. In city areas of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, he said, the number of applications received was more than the number of available seats. “It is a huge loss to the schools and even students and parents if these seats are not filled because as per Act, the schools will have to keep them vacant. Hence, we are hoping to fill as many seats as possible in the second round,” said Shaikh.

Source : The Indian Express

Ludhiana | EWS students fail to get admission in Ludhiana private schools

Right to Education Act (RTE) is still not being implemented in the city as no student from the economically weaker section (EWS) has been recommended by the district education department since 2011 for admission in any private school.

RTE may have made a fundamental right for children between 6 and 14 years to have education and making it mandatory for private schools to reserve 25% seats for economically weaker section of students. But, any legislation is as good as its implementation else its purpose is defeated.

ADMISSION UNDER EWS CATEGORY

To get their children enrolled under this category, parents can register themselves with the district education officer who after verifying their details will send the names of the students to schools, area wise.

Private schools are also completing the formality by merely advertising the information regarding 25% seat reservation for EWS students. But in reality, some schools are filling these seats by admitting the wards of their Class IV employees.

PARENTS RUE FLAWED IMPLEMENTATION

Pradeep Kumar, a parent, lamented, “This Act is not being implemented in the state as a child is first asked to take admission in a government school, which in turn can’t deny admission to any child as per government’s direction. So when no government school will ever refuse admission to a child, then how the 25% EWS category seats in the private schools will be filled, he said adding, “Last year, I decided to admit my child in a private school under this category but, when I contacted the district education office they asked me to get my kid admitted in a government school. How can I send my child to a government school which has no facilities? In Ludhiana, government primary schools have poor facilities and non-existent infrastructure where, students are mostly sitting in the open, under the trees or in corridors. That’s why I got my son admitted in a private school where I am paying the full fee. I can’t afford to pay Rs 1,200 per month, but I want my son to get education from a good school and become a better citizen.

Source : Hindustan Times

Chembur | Chembur school denies admissions to low castes

Mumbai : Sujatha and Umesh Gangurde have been running from pillar to post from the past eight months to get admission for their son into Junior KG in a Chembur school.

The school, General Education Academy, however, has been refusing admission to the child because he belongs to the Scheduled Caste category. As a result, their son, Kabir has still not started going to school.

The school’s management has been asking them to apply for the 25 per cent seats under the Right To Education Act. “We don’t need the free seat provided under RTE as we are able to afford the fees,” said Umesh, who works as a senior engineer in a private firm. “We have told them we will give them the full year’s fees at once if they want or even pay a donation if that is what they want,” he said.

The couple are keen on General Education Academy since besides being close to their home, their daughter also studies in the same school in Class II.

Since the school insisted that they will be given admission only through RTE, the family applied for it. But they did not get an allotment in the RTE lottery. In fact, this year, of the over 6,000 children who applied only 2,500 got admissions.

Since under RTE 25 per cent admissions, a school is allotted through a computerised system, they could not be sure they would get the school. “We are not the only low castes who have been turned away. The school did this with many other families. But we are the only ones fighting for a seat in the school, since our daughter studies there,” said Sujatha.

V L Shanbag, principal of the school defended the school’s actions. “When 25 per cent seats are reserved under RTE Act for socially and economically backward castes, they cannot claim a right in these remaining 75 per cent seats,” he said.

The law however, does not prohibit low castes to apply for the remaining 75 per cent seats, for which they have to pay fees. “The law does not say it is meant for open category. But that’s how we interpret it. I am ready to go to court if needed,” said Shanbag, an upper caste. He said though, that he does not affiliate with any caste.  “In my school, we give admissions in the remaining 75 per cent seats only to OBCs and open category,” he said.

Umesh says that though the Deputy Education Officer of the BMC had given a letter asking the school to give admission to the child, the principal refused to follow the order.

Source : The Free Press Journal

Mumbai | Only 39% kids get RTE seats, BMC plans 4th round

MUMBAI: Only 2,498 students of the 6,409 who applied during the three online rounds for entry to unaided non-minority schools in the city under the Right to Education Act have been admitted. The third round that ended on September 10 ended with only 75 of the 891 selected students securing admission.

The online admission rounds began in April with 318 schools reserving 25% of their seats at the entry level for students belonging to the weaker sections. A total of 9,664 seats -3,359 in pre-primary and 6,305 in Class I -were available under the quota this year.

The BMC‘s education department, which conducts the admissions, is mulling another round after only 39% were admitted under RTE. “Many students have secured admission in other schools and hence the poor response. But since we have vacancies, we are considering a fourth round. A decision is expected in the coming week,” said Prakash Charate, deputy education officer. “Some parents are very selective and hence have not been able to secure admission,” he added.
However, activists complained that the low number was due to schools’ unwillingness to accept students from economically weaker sections and the government’s inability to take action against them. “Hundreds of students have been turned back by the schools on various grounds such as distance from residence or discrepancies with income certificate. Despite making corrections, the schools have refused the students. Only some of these students participated in the following rounds but a lot of them are out of school,” said Sudhir Paranjape of Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti, a NGO.

They feel the implementing agencies need to be more pro-active. “The BMC does not take action against schools which have refused admission year after year. This way, none of the schools will fear flouting norms,” said Paranjape.

 Officials said they have sent notices to several schools. “Whenever we received a complaint, we sent a showcause notice to the school. Repeated notices have been sent till we got a satisfactory reply. Currently , there is only one school which is yet to reply to our notice,” said Charate.

Source : Times of India

Tamil Nadu | Private schools demand early RTE reimbursements

Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association has urged the State Government to not delay the reimbursement of fee for students admitted under the Right to Education Act and pay those by September every academic year.

Resolution

The Association made the demand by way of a resolution it passed at a meeting held in Coimbatore on Saturday.

It also wanted the Government to grant recognition for three years and permanent recognition for those schools that were 10 years old or more.

For other schools, the Association said the Government should give more time to comply with rules.

Syllabus

The Association said that the Government should not compel private schools to achieve the target for admitting students under the Right to Education Act, upgrade the Samacheer syllabus on a par with Plus One and Plus Two syllabi as there was a wide gap.

It also sought uniform syllabus across the country, as suggested in the draft of the National Education Policy.

Other demands

The other demands the Association made included the issue of ESI issuing notices to schools when a case in this regard was pending before courts and coming out in the open on the minimum land required for private schools, as the survival of 900 plus schools was dependent thereon.

The Association also sought reforms in the way the Government conducted the Plus Two exam – pooling of three neighbourhood schools to a centre among others.

Source : The Hindu

Uttar Pradesh | Over 15 Thousand Students Benefit From RTE Admission Act In UP

Uttar Pradesh saw a huge jump in the admission in  schools under Right to Education(RTE) act. This acted as a great relief to many lower middle class and poor people. There are many families in UP who is not capable of sending their kids to a good private school. Also, many places are in the state are unaware of the RTE act.

According to a report, a total of 15,626 students got admission in 49 districts while the number of applications was 21,789. This number is an exponential growth when compared to the data of last year which was just at 4,400. The number was much lower in the prior years 2012, 2013, and 2014, and in those years the number of intake was 108.

The reason for low turnout in previous years was maybe the lack of awareness in many districts. The reason for the lack of awareness was due to late enacted RTE in the state. While the country started RTE act in 2009, UP formed the RTE rules in 2011 and implemented in 2012.

This year the data of admissions may show a feat in the number of admissions, it cannot be neglected that 26 districts have been left out and other district showed a lower turnout. Varanasi showed a maximum number of admission where 3,318 were enrolled in the private schools. Agra and Lucknow followed Varanasi with the figure of 3,000 and 2,920 respectively.

The foundation behind the admission under RTE was laid by Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA). It worked as a media to create awareness among parents and society. It worked well, however, it couldn’t cover the whole part of UP. RTE crusader and founder-chairperson of Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation (BAF) said BSA worked very well in some parts while in other parts it didn’t work well but it has opened many opportunities for many families especially whose first generation got admission in private schools.

During the process of creating awareness, BAF noticed that many private schools are unwilling to take admission under RTE act. These schools might get advantage from those seats. BAF said if RTE act would be used efficiently, UP schools can assist 50 lakh deserving students in the next 8 years which can really change the face of education.

Source :Examswatch.com

Nagpur| RTE admissions in state down by 50%

PUNE: Against 1.15 lakh seats available in the state under the Right to Education Act, only 37,000 have been filled so far.

As compared to last year, the number of students from the backward and poor segments seeking admissions to schools has gone down by 50%. Prompted by the poor response, the state education department has appointed a steering committee to study the loopholes in the process, though it is quite evident that going online has had a negative impact.

The state education department started online admissions last year in cities like Pune, Mumbai, Nashik, Kolhapur, Nagpur etc. This year, it was extended to the entire state.

Experts say that lack of awareness among parents and students and also the state government’s failure in propagating it the right way are responsible for the poor response. Activist Matin Mujawar said, “The scheme is essentially for the economically backward. Most parents are construction workers, migrants, security persons among others who are illiterate about the online process. This was pointed out to the education officers, but they insisted on continuing with the online process. The results were on expected lines.”

A total of 77,000 applications were received. Of them, only 37,000 admissions have been completed so far.

The admission process is plagued by several problems.Over 10 schools in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad refused to admit students under the Right to Education (RTE) Act last year, following which the education officers filed a police case against the school managements. The education department later asked the officers to withdraw these cases. Many schools’ management have complained of not getting reimbursement from the state government against admissions.

Source : The Times of India

Nagpur | 44% vacant RTE seats in Nagpur division hint at goof up

Nagpur: Recently CBSE has cancelled the affiliation of six schools from Bangalore and Mysore in Karnataka for forging documents to put an exemption from the provisions of RTI act. Now sources said that similar malpractice is being adopted by many CBSE schools in Nagpur to do away with the provisions of Right To Education (RTE). Atleast the number of vacant seats under RTE in Nagpur division clearly hints at the goof up.

A report published in a leading daily figured out that an astounding 44% seats in Nagpur division schools under the free Right to Education (RTE) Act quota remain vacant this year even after multiple rounds for admission.

The six districts under Nagpur division have put up a dismal RTE performance going by the latest data, with only Nagpur city offering some face-saving solace with 27.21% seats remaining vacant. Gadchiroli district fared the worst with 84.82% vacant seats. It is suspicious that of the total 12,390 RTE seats available in the district, only 6,984 have been filled.

Education deptt sings the other way…
Education officials feel that the reason seats are remaining vacant is because parents want the free admission only in select schools. The officer, who did not want to be named considering his top bosses from Pune are arriving in Nagpur for a two-day seminar, said, “The entire rush and aggressive stance taken by parents is only for a few CBSE and state board schools. If they do not get admission there then they’ll go for a government-aided school.” Education activists feel that all these seats can be filled if only a proper process is followed.

Transparency is need of the hour
Shahid Sharif, chairman of an NGO RTE Action Committee said, “Currently we are holding a completely online lottery system. I understand that having an online interface is crucial if one needs to have transparency. However, after the second or third rounds all vacant seats should be filled up manually. Government guidelines clarify that admission lottery needs to continue till all seats are filled. The question, however, is why follow the lottery system when availability of seats is much more than admission seekers.” Another issue needs to be looked into is the role of advisory committee, Sharif said adding, “An advisory committee has been constituted, but it hardly meets. There should be frequent discussions on how to take the RTE admission process forward without which there cannot be proper feedback.”

He also added that going online was not a wise decision. “First, they (authorities) said that schools only in urban areas will see online admissions but now everyone is included. In rural areas, there is hardly any comfort level of people with the online world. Remember we are talking about a poor farmer or a daily wage labourer. These are the people who actually require, and qualify, for free admissions,” said Sharif.

Source : Nagpur Today

Draft National Edu Policy alarms minorities

The draft National Education Policy (NEP), being framed by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), seems to be ringing alarm bells among the minorities. The Committee for Evolution of NEP, constituted by MHRD under the chairmanship of T S R Subramanian, former Union Cabinet Secretary, has recommended that “the issue of extension of Clause 12 (1) ( C ) of the RTE Act to minority institutions needs a review. The Committee feels that the larger national obligations to meet the rights of economic weaker sections should extend to all institutions, including minority (religious and linguistic) institutions.”

The MHRD, which came out with “some inputs for Draft National Education Policy,” has also echoed the high-powered panel’s view that “the issue of extension of Clause 12 (1) ( C ) of RTE Act to government-aided institutions (religious and linguistic) will be examined in view of larger national commitments towards the economically weaker sections.”

Discussing the issue of 25 percent reservation for weaker sections and disadvantaged groups under the Right to Education Act, the Subramanian Panelsuggests application of EWS Quota to religious and linguistic minority institutions. The panel notes that “minority (religious and linguistic) schools have been exempted from the RTE by the Supreme Court under Article 30 of the Constitution, as per the finding in Pramati Educational and Cultural Trust Vs Union of India. ” It goes on to add that “surprisingly, even aided minority schools have been given exemption; not surprisingly, there has been reportedly a marked increase in schools seeking minority status post this judgement!”

This way, the panel virtually mocks at Supreme Court judgement pronounced by a five-judge Constitution bench comprising then Chief Justice R M Lodha and Justices A K Patnaik, S J Mukhopadhaya, Dipak Misra and F J I Kalifulla in May 2014. While upholding the RTE Act 2009, the bench, inter alia, had exempted minority schools, both aided and unaided, from the purview of the Act on the ground that minority schools could not be put under legal obligation to provide free and compulsory elementary education to children who were not members of the minority community which had established the school.

“In our view, if the RTE Act is made applicable to minority schools, aided or unaided, the right of the minorities under Article 30 (1) of the Constitution will be abrogated. Therefore, the (provision of the) 2009 Act, which made it applicable to minority schools, is unconstitutional,” the bench observed.

The apex court’s verdict seems to have caused consternation to Subramanian Committee which claimed that “even given the current legal status, the question remains moot about a constitutionally permissible balance involving Article 21 (A), Article 15 (4) and Article 30. It is to be noted that the right under Article 21 (A) has been constricted under the present legal interpretation.”

“Indeed, it can be argued with some merit that the responsibility to provide free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality to children from disadvantaged and weaker sections would extend to not only government schools but also on schools not dependent on government funds. There is a likelihood that the present legal dispensation is a result of an earlier apex legal finding relating to higher education, now inducted to include elementary education in its scope and interpretation,” the panel pointed out.

The panel goes further and says “without entering into the legal aspects, it is now important to reconcile the right of the economically weaker sections with the right of the minorities under Article 30 (1), particularly when minority institutions often appear to clutch at any prop to ensure that their obligations, met by other aided or unaided schools, are circumvented.”

In fact, the high-powered committee seems to question the rationale of Article 30 which deals with the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, particularly Sub-section (1) which enjoins that “all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.”

 The panel erroneously seems to treat the minorities, particularly Muslims, as educationally and socio-economically forward communities vis-a-vis “the economically weaker sections.” It also appears oblivious to substantive empirical data on the economic, social and educational backwardness of minorities, particularly Muslim community, as brought out by umpteen official panels and surveys, including Gopal Singh High-Powered Committee, Sachar Committee, Ranganath Misra Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, several rounds of NSSO Surveys, and the reports of various BC Commissions constituted by various States all over the country from time to time. The panel does not even rely on the educational profile of minorities that emerges from the Census data for 2011 and the latest statistics of the District Information System on Education (DISE).
 Betraying its real motives, the panel insists that “this issue (of exempting minority institutions from RTE) needs further examination and clarification, not only to expand the scope of reaching out to EWS students, but also to ensure that minority institutions are established only for the genuine reasons envisaged by the Constitution-that they are actually designed to meet the basic objective to meet the predominant needs of minorities – that they do not use their ‘Constitutional’ privilege to manoeuvre out of national obligations established in overall public interest. The same issues need to be addressed in the case of linguistic minority schools, in a likewise manner.”

Mumbai |Pathetic no. of admissions in RTE round 3

Mumbai : The date for admissions under the Right to Education (RTE) Act was extended from September 5 to September 10 owing to the extremely low admissions registered in the third and last round, as the round came to an end.

There were just 61 admissions under the 25% seats that the Act mandates the private unaided schools to give underprivileged children. 891 children had been allocated seats. This comes to just 7% of the total.

It is not clear what the status of the remaining children is, though it is assumed that they have not approached the allotted schools.

An official from the BMC’s education department that conducts and oversees RTE admissions said that, the department has done its duty of extending the dates. “It is the responsibility of the parents to approach the schools. For children to come to BMC schools, we go door-to-door, but in this case they have to go to the private schools,” he added.

“Maybe they have not got the school of their choice,” he explained.

It is to be noted that it is over two months since schools have reopened and the RTE admission process is still on-going. Two previous rounds had been delayed because some schools had refused to give admissions or had failed to update the status of admissions in their systems, until which the next round could not be held.

Source : The Free Press Journal