WITH only 6.98 per cent seats filled in Gujarat under Section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act that mandates 25 per cent reservation for children from economically and socially disadvantaged sections in private unaided non-minority schools, the state fared far behind the national average of 15.12 per cent.
This was revealed Thursday in the report — State of the Nation: RTE Section 12(1)(c) — compiled by the RTE Resource Centre at Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad along with Central Square Foundation, Accountability Initiative and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
In Gujarat, according to the data for 2014-15, against 96,870 seats reserved in private unaided schools, only 6,762 were filled. This is despite the fact that upon finding the widespread inconsistencies in the enforcement of the Act in Gujarat, the Gujarat High Court directed the state government, the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and local authorities to sensitise citizens of their right to free and compulsory education as well as their right under Section 12(1)(c) through print media, electronic media.
At the national level, roughly 3.46 lakh seats were filled out of approximately 22.9 lakh seats available under Section12(1)(c), resulting in a fill rate of 15.12 per cent. This is a slight improvement from 3.2 lakh seats filled out of 21.8 lakh available seats (14.66 per cent fill rate) in 2013-14. Prof Ankur Sarin, faculty- Public Systems Group, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad and one of the lead authors of the report, said, “Across states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka, civil society has played a critical role in improving the implementation of this provision. They have done so by disseminating information and creating awareness about this policy among beneficiaries, exchanging ideas and generating knowledge among other similar organisations through hubs and networks, supporting the intended beneficiaries in the grievance redressal process and advocating for changes in the policy through collaboration with the state bureaucracy, and public interest litigation.”
The RTE Resource Centre was launched at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad in late 2013 as a response to low enrolment rate through the Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act. The centre served as a platform for student volunteers from IIM and other colleges such as MICA, GNLU, NID, Nirma University among others, to collaborate with civil society organisations such as Manav Sadhna, Sewa, Savera, Aarzoo, Prabhat Educational Trust, ICDS and Shwas to create awareness among communities and help parents in the form filling process. Further, in 2014-15, out of 2.17 lakh schools only 45,996 schools had taken at least one student under this provision. In2013-14, there were 44,158 participating schools out of total 2.06 lakh schools.
One of the reasons for low school participation rate cited in the report was delay in reimbursement to schools for admitting students under this provision.
Source : The Indian Express