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

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

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

Bengaluru | State asks CBSE to cancel affiliation of 6 NPS schools

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to withdraw the affiliation of six schools run by the National Public School group in Bengaluru and Mysuru.

The request was made after it was found that the group produced “fake”minority status documents to avoid giving up 25% seats under the Right To Education (RTE) Act. The DPI sent the request last week.

Six schools in trouble

The six schools that will be in trouble in case the CBSE decides to honour the Department of Public Instruction’s request are National Public Schools in Rajajinagar, Indiranagar, Koramangala, HSR Layout, Mysuru and the NationalAcademy for Learning, Basaveshwara Nagar, Bengaluru.

A month ago, the Department of Public Instruction had directed filing of criminal complaints against the six schools when the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions pointed out that the group had produced fake documents.

Source : Deccan Herald

Shivamogga | Govt schools facing student shortage due to RTE: MLA

Shivamogga: JDS MLA YSV Datta said implementation of Right to Education (RTE) Act in Karnataka has pushed many government schools on the verge of closure.

Speaking at a programme of Private School Teacher’s Forum at Shivamogga on Tuesday, Datta, said the state government has been paying around Rs 500 crores to private schools every year for admitting students under RTE quota. This has led to the shortage of student s in government schools. Several states have not implemented the Act to protect government schools there, but in Karnataka, the situation is completely opposite, Datta said urging the government to reconsider its stand on RTE. He also urged the government to review its faulty rules framed for regulating private educational institutions.

Source : The Times of India

Karnataka | Consider plea to hike RTE fee reimbursement, says High Court

The High Court on Wednesday directed the principal secretary, department of primary and secondary education to consider the representation of Associated Managements of Government Recognised English Medium Schools in Karnataka within six weeks.

Justice Aravind Kumar partly allowed the petition filed by KAMS, which had sought directions to revise the reimbursement of fees of children admitted to private schools under the 25% of the seats reserved under the Right to Education Act, 2009.

The petitioner had contended that the government has implemented a new pay scale in 2012 for the staff of the government and aided institutions and till date increase the dearness allowance by 32.5%. The government is using different yardstick while dealing with aided and unaided schools and has not increased the reimbursement amount since 2012, the petitioner’s advocate G R Mohan argued.

The petitioner has contended the state government has chosen not to revise the reimbursement of fees for students who are admitted in private unaided non-minority schools under the RTE quota. The state government has fixed an annual fees of Rs 5,924 for pre-primary and Rs 11,848 for Class I.

The bench directed the department to consider the representation in view of Section 12(2) of the RTE Act, 2009 and Rule 8(1) of the Karnataka RTE Rules, 2012, which talks about reimbursement of amount for children studying under RTE.

Source : Deccan Herald

Kolar | Only 627 seats filled under RTE in Kolar

The admission process under the Right to Education Act (RTE) has made slow progress in Kolar district with only 627 children, out of 2926 seats reserved, getting admitted to schools. It comes to around only 20 per cent.

The admission process which began on May 10 will continue till May 23. There are 278 private schools to which students can get admissions under RTE quota.

Of the 627 children admitted so far, 161 belonged to Scheduled Caste and 27 to Scheduled Tribe. 457 students belonged to Other Backward Classes. Two children with disabilities also got admission.

Confusion

A circular issued by the State government has been attributed as the reason for the confusion and tardy progress in the admission process. “The seats which were granted to children based on the applications submitted by their parents to the schools which do not come under the jurisdiction of their respective wards or villages should be cancelled” is the instruction contained in the circular.

This has resulted in confusion both to the parents and officials of the Education Department. It also caused verbal duels between the parents and authorities. The parents even staged protests in front of DDPI and BEO offices.

While parents argue that their wards should be given admission in the selected schools, the officials say they have to abide by the directions of the government.

“Giving preference to the local students was the intention of the government”, RTE district nodal officer C.R. Ashok said. There is no meaning in protests by parents without understanding this, he said.

Source : The Hindu

Dakshina Kannada| RTE: 791 applications for admission to Class 1 cleared

As many as 791 applications for admission to Class 1 in unaided schools under the Right to Education Act have been cleared in Dakshina Kannada.

There were discrepancies in 1,073 applications and the Department of Public Instruction has to take a decision on them.

As many as 3,398 applications were filed online for admission to 2,274 seats available in Dakshina Kannada for LKG and Class 1 in unaided schools.

As much as 25 per cent of seats in the neighbourhood unaided schools are set apart for economically weak and disabled children. The State government pays for the education of these students.

Following the first round of draw of lots, seats were allocated to 1,674 applicants. Deputy Commissioners of each district were asked to scrutinise documents of each of the selected applicant and approve only those where details were proper.

Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim at a meeting here on Friday said that they had cleared 791 applications.

Department’s discretion

“They have to get their children admitted to the school by May 23. We are leaving it to the department to decide on the 1,073 applications,” he said.

During a meeting following the scrutiny on Friday, the applicants pointed out the way officials had rejected their applications on the ground that the school they had chosen was outside the place they reside.

Rejected

A woman from Simantoor said that her application for admission to the school located 1 km away from her house was rejected as the school was in the neighbouring gram panchayat.

Another applicant from Sullia said his application was rejected as the Aadhaar number mentioned during online submission was different from the Aadhaar document he had produced.

Deputy Director of Public Instruction Walter D’Mello said that some among the 1,073 applicants would be allowed to take part in the second draw of lots for seat allocation.

As many as 3,398 applications were filed online for admission to

2,274 seats

Source : The Hindu

Karnataka | RTE admissions: one more round of verification

The Education Department has instructed district-level committees across the State to conduct one more round of verification process to eliminate ineligible candidates, who have secured admissions to schools under the Right to Education Act.

The committees have already conducted the verification process and prepared a list of eligible candidates. However, the Education Department wants to further scrutinise the applications to make the selection process foolproof. After realising that there were possibilities of a some candidates on the eligibility list for reasons like more than one ward having the same pin code, the Education Department has instructed officials to ensure that only eligible candidates get seats under the RTE quota.

The department felt the need for this in the wake of recent orders passed by the High Court of Karnataka after a few candidates secured admissions under the RTE quota in a ward other than their ward of residence.

The Commissioner for Public Instruction has sent a circular to all the DDPIs in the State instructing them to conduct the post-selection verification process.

The Commissioner had stated in the circular that the verification of all RTE applications was made using the databases of Aadhaar, Electors’ Photo ID Cards (EPIC) and Nada Kacheri.

However, he further stated, as these databases are not tailor-made for RTE purposes, it is imperative to have a post-selection verification process to make the selection foolproof.

Students from disadvantaged groups, those who had submitted EPIC without pin codes as address proof, whose names were there in the first eligibility list and classified as ineligible the second time but considered to be included in lottery process, and those who applied in schools in wards other than their ward of residence would be subjected for post-selection verification.

 Source : The Hindu

Bangalore | RTE verification fails to detect duplicate applications

BENGALURU: The Right to Education (RTE) Act was aimed at providing access to education to every child. But like every other law, its implementation is full of flaws. The 25% quota in private English medium schools is misused so much so that middlemen are virtually running the show between uneducated poor parents and the schools. In our five part series commencing today, TOI looks at how deep the mess is in implementing one of India’s progressive laws to get every child into a school.

A web of confusion and messy management of the system defines the state of the 25% seat allocation under the Right to Education Act in the state. In a massive crackdown on the inefficiency of the department of public instruction’s application verification software, it was revealed that parents have applied multiple times for their child using different mobile numbers each time.

Some of these applicants have sent in their details over five times for the same student and in each application have marked a different school as their first preference. The additional applications should have been rejected in the first go taking only one of them as legitimate. Astonishingly, the department’s scanners had made all of these applications of one student eligible for participation in the online seat allocation lottery that was conducted on Saturday.

A total of 2,74,628 applications were received this year by the department of which 1,87,495 were deemed eligible for the seat allocation to the 11 thousand-odd private unaided schools. But of these eligible applications, the department decided that owing to over 200 such cases of duplication, the applicants that have been rejoicing over getting an allotment to two or more schools, will face a cancellation of the allotment after the list has been sent to the schools for further verification.

There are various modes to apply. One can apply online, through mobile phones, by going to a BEO. While submitting the applications, parents are required to fill in details of the child’s name, their names, AADHAR/EPIC details, income certificate along with mobile numbers. While most of these applications are filled through mobile phones itself, it becomes easy for parents to apply using different numbers and with each application, they have the luxury of marking a different school as their first preference.

Once this is done, during verification process, even if all other detail of the applicants are the same, the applications are not rejected because the mobile numbers are different and all other details are also up-to-date.

Condemning this snag in the verification process, Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associate Management of Private Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) said, “This is the biggest loophole in the system and I had appealed to the department about the rectification of the verification system many times but it went unheard. Considering mobile numbers for the verification process must be stopped right away.

This practice, although can guarantee parents a seat for their child in any one of the preferred schools, it reduces chances of another equally eligible child from being a part of the online allotment process.

Nagasimha G Rao, state convener, RTE task force said, “This practice is an injustice to other students who aspire for a seat under the quota. Filing multiple applications, in reality began as an attempt to rectify a mistake they would make. These parents would have sent in a wrong detail or a small spelling mistake in their names and fearing that their application would get rejected, they would use a different mobile number to apply for the same child, with the right details.”
He further added, “But what began as an innocent practice has now been misused by these parents. But they can’t alone be blamed, the department’s verification process is equally inefficient. It should be able to accept only one of these applications instead of all of them.”
However, K Ananda, director of public instruction for primary education said, “We have not received many complaints regading this, all those that we have got from parents are regarding changes in schools that have been allotted. Further scrutiny on this matter will happen at school levels after they conduct physical verification.”