Nagpur | RTE entry point standardized to Std I

Nagpur: After the meeting, Tawde gave instructions to education officials to change the entry point to Std I. Patil, who was in Nagpur on Tuesday for a meeting, said, “This is immediate effectively and we are happy with the decision.” MESTA has about 8,000 member schools across the state.

Now, with nursery admissions hanging fire, the moot question is about Std I. Principal of a city school said, “The government says this year Std I admission is compulsory but our seats are full. We already have RTE students being promoted from KG II so there is no question of taking in fresh admissions.” A source in the education ministry said that it will issue a circular soon to clarify this point. “We simply want admissions to be done in Std I. Even if the kids are being promoted from KG II, it is fine with us. They have effectively filled the RTE quota as there is no talk about fresh admission,” he said.

While this is good news for schools, the headache for parents has just begun. The fate of over 2,000 students who got allotted seats in pre-primary section through the RTE online lottery held last week, now hangs in balance. Schools are now well within their rights to cancel/refuse admission to all these students.

RTE admissions started in 2012, and since then schools had been admitting students to whichever class was their entry point. In Nagpur city, there are 69 schools which have their entry point at either nursery or KG level. Some senior academicians told TOI that they will take a call after the government officially announces this via a circular. One such principal said, “If we cancel admissions now and the government circular includes even a small loophole that parents can exploit, then it will be a fiasco.”

An education official involved with RTE admissions said, “We are now in a fix. From tomorrow, parents will start hounding us and fighting with us. We can understand their frustration but they need to know that Nagpur level we do not have a say in this.”

SCHOOLS HAPPY, PARENTS IN A FIX

WHAT IT MEANS FOR SCHOOLS

* Effective immediately, schools are allowed to change their entry point to std I

* Even if schools have a pre-primary section, they are exempt from RTE admissions

* However, schools may voluntarily admit students to pre-primary section

* Schools well within their rights to refuse admission to pre-primary students selected through lottery

* Schools can cancel entire pre-primary admissions already given under RTE

* Government, as per earlier rule, will continue to reimburse fee from Std I onward

* Schools may be allowed to fill their Std I quota from their KG II promotees

* This standardization also means freedom for schools from RTE administrative red tape

WHAT IT MEANS FOR PARENTS?

* If your child is selected for nursery class under RTE, schools can refuse admission

* Basically, all such parents are now at the mercy of schools

* If your child has been selected for Std I, then he/she MAY be eligible for admission

* If that school has RTE students naturally being promoted to Std I, then your child can be refused admission

* Admission may be granted only if there are seats vacant in the RTE 25% quota

* Contact education officials for further directions as you may be allotted a new school

* The education department is likely to hold a second round of lottery and your kid will get a new school

* Since these decisions are made at ministry level, meeting and exerting pressure on local officials is futile

PRINCISPEAK

I am happy because the actual RTE Act mentions admission of children from age of six years to 14 years. Parents have this notion that admission from nursery is the ideal RTE quota admission but what they fail to understand is that some schools start from nursery and KG whereas some schools start from Std I.

Deepak Bajaj | president, headmaster association

This is the right decision as it will ensure equality. Some schools do not have government grant but they have the infrastructure so, in these schools, government should provide grants. Performance schools are on one side and government schools on the other side and different schools have different type of infrastructure so it depends on the capacity of the schools.

S Prabhuraman | principal, saraswati vidyalaya

Many schools do not have nursery and kindergarten sections and admissions of students start from Std I. If this year we have to give admission to Std I, then it will create problems for the school because this means an additional creation of section of Std I for RTE quota students. Some schools do not have the needed space but the government fails to understand this.

LJ Makasare | principal, bishop cotton school

It’s nice to see that the government has taken this decision. Due to this now there will be uniformity without any confusion. And also, as we know, the formal education of a child starts from Std I. Therefore, I believe that this is a step in the right direction and will bring standardization.

Deaven Dasture | director, royal gondwana public school

I’m not happy with this decision of the government. Government is blindly taking the decisions, without knowing the ground reality of the schools. Now I pity those schools who have already given the admission in the pre primary section. They will have to undergo the process from scratch and parents will also be inconvenienced.

Jaspal Singh | principal, gurunanak high school

Interviews: Anil Murmade & Ankita Dolai

Source: The Times of India

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