Gujarat | Court doubts govt’s RTE will, suggests lawyers’ panel

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court on Monday expressed dissatisfaction with the state government for its “lack of efforts” to implement the Right to Education Act in order to ensure admission of poor children on the 25% seats in primary section in private schools.

A bench of acting Chief Justice V M Sahai and Justice R P Dholaria made oral observation that it believed that reliance cannot be placed on the state government for implementation of RTE laws for ensuring admission of poor kids in private schools. The court was of the opinion that for proper implementation, a committee of senior lawyers is required to be constituted which would come up with proposal for proper implementation of the law, said advocate Parul Joshi who represents petitioner NGO, Jagega Gujarat Sangharsh Samiti.

Last month, the HC had asked 16 schools of the city, which were selected as model schools to implement RTE Act, to keep 25% seats vacant for poor students in their primary section. The petitioner NGO had claimed that these schools did not grant admission to poor students under RTE laws.

These schools cited various reasons for not filling up the quota – the reasons varied from getting fewer applications, not fulfilling the criteria, etc. The petitioner submitted that most of these schools charge high fees and the state government’s allocation of Rs 10,000 towards fees for each student is not enough for them.

Till now, 12,601 students have been granted admission in private schools, though the government has reserved 18,000 seats for them. In Ahmedabad city limits, against 2,000 seats reserved for admission in private schools, only 604 students have been admitted. In Ahmedabad district, against 1,400 seats, 779 kids have been given admission during current academic year. It was alleged that the schools selected as model schools in the city have not been following rules on various pretexts.

Times of India’s View

The high court’s censure of the state government for its indifferent effort in implementing the Right to Education Act is a source of hope for an India that seeks an equitable society.

Poor implementation of the Act is a problem across the country. Therefore it is time that all states, including Gujarat, urgently put in place systems to achieve a vital national ambition: to ensure that no child is left behind.

The systems should have the capacity to help schools adhere to RTE laws as well as provisions to deter those who seek to hold up the mission.

Source: Times of India

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