Narrating a recent incident of a parent trying to dupe the school authorities to get her ward admitted under the Right To Education (RTE) act, Kumudini Bangera, the headmistress of Horizon Academy, said that the woman sought admission of her son in the school by claiming to be staying with her parents. On verification, it was found that the woman in question was in fact living with her husband and parents-in-law at Dwarka and was running a business of her own; thus clearly violating the eligibility criteria for the scheme. Neither was the candidate staying in the vicinity of the school, nor did he belong to the weaker section of the community.
Cases such as this have forced city schools to be doubly cautious of the dubious applications they receive from parents seeking admission of their wards under RTE despite not being eligible for the same. Moreover, lack of a proper government mechanism to verify the veracity of the applications is making it all the more difficult for city schools to keep the malpractice in check.
Ritu Agrawal, a trustee of city-based Wisdom High International School, said there have been a number of instances where the school authorities received fake documents from the parents and had a tough time verifying and rejecting them.
“Since there is no government mechanism to verify the authenticity of the candidates, the schools have to rely on their own sources to take decisions on the admission process,” said Bangera, who herself has taken up the task of verifying the applications.
In yet another incident, the parent had mentioned the wrong address while filling the admission form, Bangera added. “After thorough verification, I found out that the child lived in a bungalow with his parent, but the address in the form was filled out wrong,” she said.
Other incidents Bangera came across while verifying admission forms under RTE included a parent taking pains to actually reside in Harsul, 40km from Nashik, only to prove that the child was in fact living near the school. Another parent convinced the six tenants of the house that he had given on rent to convince the principal that he and his family also to lived there.
“When we verified, we discovered that the man was residing in a posh bungalow in some other part of the city,” she said.
Agrawal said that a parent residing in a plush apartment behind Navshya Ganpati temple on Gangapur Road wrongly mentioned his address to be in the modest Ganeshnagar area of Satpur.
Another principal of a prominent city school, on the condition of anonymity, said, “Some parents are so desperate to get their wards admitted into the school that they even offer to relocate so that they may come under the jurisdiction of the school premises to facilitate the admission to their ward.” On being rejected, they approach politicians to get the admission application passed, she added. “I remember a corporator calling me up later to clear a candidate’s application even though he failed to fit the criteria,” she said.
“It is the school’s call to verify the candidate’s details. If anyone approaches us with a complaint against the school, we have to explain the grounds on which the candidate was rejected,” said Umesh Dongre, administrative officer of the education department of the civic body, adding that if a school is found guilty of not giving admission to the rightful candidate, action is taken.
The last day for filling online application forms for admission under the RTE was April 26. The admission process will begin in a few days with draw of lots.
In the meantime, the education department of the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) will be conducting a draw of lots to admit students to various schools under the RTE. The department had extended the deadline four times in order to accommodate maximum students.The civic body received 2,321 online applications till the last day of filling forms under RTE. The total number of seats in 105 city schools under RTE is 2,176. In the entire district, 5,585 forms have been filled for 5,900 seats.
The online registration of schools for RTE began in the first week of February but had to be extended from March 5 to March 15 as all the 106 schools had not registered with the NMC’s education department. Admission for 25% reservation under RTE was made online for city students in the last academic year and has been extended to the entire district this year. From March 17 to 31, parents had to fill out applications online for their wards under RTE. The deadline was extended multiple times until April 26.
“We will soon be deciding the dates for the draw of lots,” said a senior education officer.
Nashik city stats
Total seats in city schools2176 (2055 in standard I and 121 in pre-primary)
Total applications received 2321
Nashik district stats
This year the online admission process was extended throughout the district. The figures for the entire district including that of the city are as follows –
Total schools 374
Source : The Times of India