Confusion and dimming hope have marred the process of admissions to the 25 per cent reserved seats in schools under the Right to Education Act. While on one hand the admissions stand delayed owing to confusion, a number of schools are also dropping out of the RTE online process, thus reducing the available numbers.
While the registration process for schools started on February 16, the parents were supposed to start applying for admissions from February 23. The date was later deferred to February 25. However, there is still no clarity on when the process will begin, leaving parents in the lurch.
Of greater concern to them is that only 280 schools were registered this year, compared to 315 schools last year and 554 in 2013.
According to officials, in just the past year, 35 schools sought minority status which they were granted.
Many activists and parents allege that schools are using the minority status to evade RTE Act norms. According to an April 2012 SC order, unaided minority schools are exempt from reserving 25 per cent of their seats for children from the socially and economically weaker sections of the society. However, now that the number of schools expected to reserve 25 per cent seats is reduced, it will also cause the number of seats available under the RTE Act to drop drastically, BMC education inspector Shambhavi Jogi said.
“We will find out the total number of seats available for admission this year within a day and release it to the public for their benefit. All 24 of our admission centers are already functional and parents can approach for help,” she added.
However, parents are totally unaware of this development, and activists allege that there is not enough awareness created by the civic body on the available seats and admissions process. Parents and activists are also are upset that the government is approving minority status for schools even though this will shrink the number of seats available under the reservation. “Once again admissions are getting delayed and we dread that students will be left without seats, again. This is the failure of the civic body to implement RTE norms for three consecutive years now, what is the state government doing about it?” said K Narayan, from the NGO Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti.
Many parents are also angry over negligible advertising about the RTE Act for the second year now.
Source: Indian Express