Pune | Edu dept does half a job, leaves 4,000 RTE applicants without school

Pune: The future of over 4,000 students, eligible for admission under the 25% reservation quota of Right to Education Act, hangs in balance as the state government has not been able to allot them seats.

The admission process for the seats began in March and nearly half the total applicants were allotted seats in 420 schools across the city.

The state education department issued a circular to schools on Friday stating that the students, who have been allotted seats in the first round announced in April, should be admitted with immediate effect.

However, the education department has failed to process the admissions of the remaining students.

While the directorate of education, Pune division, received 10,820 applications, about 3,255 students were admitted to schools in the first round.

Another 3,193 students were selected in the first round, and given a choice of one school, but they were not admitted to these schools. The remaining 4,372 students were not selected at all and the state government has not yet considered any action regarding these students.

On July 10, the directorate of primary education issued a circular to all schools stating that admissions allotted in the first round must be processed with immediate effect.

However, the circular failed to mention a timeline for the admissions and has not mentioned the students, who were not allotted any school in the first round. Maitreyee Shankar, a member of Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat, a collective of waste pickers that is helping its members gain admissions for their children, said, “The education department’s circular is absolutely vague. It has no clarity on the admission process. There are no timelines as to when the admission process should be completed by schools neither does it mention those students who weren’t allotted any seats in the first round.”

Shankar further claimed that the government was not committing to the second round of admissions thereby leaving students and parents in a limbo.

“In the circular, the government is shirking responsibility and expecting schools to ensure they complete the admissions. The monitoring process and initiation of admissions must be conducted by the education department.”

Some activists observe that the admission process was not duly publicised so as to reach out to everybody. Sonali Kunjir, another RTE activist, asked, “The state government is only sending circulars to schools. How would the beneficiaries know that they have to reach the schools and process their admissions?”

Experts believe students, who have been left in the lurch, without admissions to any school are the worst affected. Nishank Varshney, research associate with the RTE Resource Centre established at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, said, “It is not known where the students, who have not been allotted any seats as yet, should go to get their complaints addressed. The issue of grievance redressal is important for RTE to run smoothly.”

Explaining the administrative perspective, Mahavir Mane, state director of education, told TOI, “At present, we have instructed schools to present the seats that were allotted in the first round. We will ensure that these students get admitted and later we will look at the remaining applicants.”

The Bombay High Court is scheduled to hear a matter regarding the admissions under RTE on July 15.

Source: The Times of India

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