Karnataka: 18,000 more RTE seats in aided schools this year

For the first time since the Right to Education (RTE) Act was enforced, the State government has mandated that government-aided schools, apart from private schools, should reserve seats for students from socio-economic disadvantaged sections of society. This will see nearly 3,000 aided schools and over 18,000 additional seats coming within the ambit of the RTE Act, said officials of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). There are currently over 1.28 lakh seats available in over 11,900 unaided schools.

Until now, only unaided schools were reserving 25% of their seats for students from weaker sections and disadvantaged groups. These schools receive reimbursement based on the students they admit under the quota.

According to Section 12 (1)(b) of the RTE Act, aided schools would have to provide free and compulsory elementary education to the children admitted based on the annual recurring aid or grants, subject to a minimum of 25%. However, aided schools will not receive any reimbursement for admitting the students.

There is mixed response to this move. Some schools feel waiving fees for students under the quota may not work out for them financially as they charge nominal fees from other students. “By reserving some seats without reimbursement, we may not be able to meet infrastructural requirements,” said a management representative.

However, for others there is a sense that at least through RTE quota, currently empty classrooms may get a fresh lease of life. “We are all Kannada-medium schools and are struggling to survive. We will admit students if they opt for seats through the RTE quota,” said a school representative.

The DPI has announced the calender of events for RTE events, and parents can file online applications for their wards between February 20 and March 21. The first round of seats will be allotted on April 6.

Private school have been asked to fill the remaining 75% of seats only after the three-rounds of RTE admissions are completed by May 30.

However, private schools are unhappy with the move, and said they will defy the order. D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) said there is always a delay in RTE admissions as seen over the past three years, and they cannot take a risk in admissions over the next academic year.

Source: The Hindu

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