Pune | Confusion prevails as HC defers RTE hearing

Pune: Confusion reigns over admissions under the Right to Education (RTE) Act’s 25% quota as a hearing in the Bombay high court on the matter has been deferred by a month.

The high court had stayed an April 30 government resolution that dictated that the admissions under the 25% quota will be compulsory at Standard I level in all schools. It was challenged by some private schools from the city that want to admit students from the pre-primary level.

The government had been asked to file an affidavit explaining its stand, but it failed to do so and the hearing has been scheduled a month later.

“Our session starts next week and we will go ahead with the admissions that we had already granted at the pre-primary level before the April 30 government resolution was issued. We will follow the directions of the high court, but for now there is a stay on the government resolution,” said Nandkumar Kakirde, director of the Bharati Vidya Bhavan, one of the schools that have gone to court on the issue.

Kakirde reiterated that the reason that the management of the school wanted the entry point to be at the pre-primary level is that the students will be on a par with their peers when they enter Standard I. “We have done this for three years now and in our school we have found that all the students – whether under RTE quota or otherwise – are on equal footing. Teachers take special care to do this,” he said.

However, Rajendra Singh, spokesperson of the Maharashtra English School Trustees Association (MESTA), said that the association has advised member schools to commence the sessions with admissions at Standard I level.

“We have maintained that since the government is not willing to reimburse fees for the pre-primary level, we should not admit students at that level. We should admit students only from Standard I onwards. We will of course follow the directions of the high court, but for now we have asked schools to proceed with the Standard I admissions,” he said.

The officials of the state education department, however, remained mum on the issue. When contacted, Nanda Kumar, principal secretary, state education department, said, “I am completely unaware about the court hearing as I am not in Mumbai. However, whatever the court decides, the education department will follow.”

The state education commissioner Purshottam Bhapkar refused to give any information on the education department’s stand on the court hearing whereas the state director of primary education, Mahaveer Mane, remained unavailable for comment.

According to the order, the HC has asked the government to maintain status quo. It clarified this means, not to implement or take action based upon the April 30 government resolution.

Source: The Times of India

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