Pune | Fresh RTE resolution stumps parents

Pune: Garage mechanic Ganesh Kadam considered himself lucky after his 3-year-old son was granted admission to the City International School, Kothrud without any harassment he had seen others go through to get seats under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

His happiness, however, soon turned into despair as a government resolution dated April 30 restricted Class I as the entry point for admissions under the Act and the school authorities asked him to pay Rs 40,000 as yearly fees.

Expressing helplessness over producing such an amount, Kadam said: “Do I have an option? I will have to consider this given the fact that this is my son’s only chance to get quality education.”

The last-minute decision on the admissions at pre-primary level under the quota reserved for children from the economically weaker and disadvantaged sections of society has resulted into a lot of harassment for parents.

Vanita Sope had struggled to get her daughter admitted to New English School where the child had been allotted a seat under the quota last year. “I have heard that parents who admitted their children last year are now being asked to pay the fees or the child’s name will be removed from the rolls. My husband is an autorickshaw driver. Where will we get the money to pay two years’ fees?” she asked.

Seeking immediate cancellation of the resolution, activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Samajwadi Adhyapak Sabha said here on Wednesday that “it betrays the hopes of parents”.

“The admission process under the RTE Act began in January this year. Over the last four months, parents have spent their time, effort and sometimes even their daily wages to ensure that their wards are admitted to the allotted schools. However, all their efforts went into vain once the government came out with the resolution restricting Std I as the entry-point,” said Sharad Javadekar, convener of the Akhil Bharatiya Samajwadi Adhyapak Sabha, at a news conference here.

He blamed an anomaly in the law for the confusion that has been prevailing ever since the admission process under the Act began. “Section 12 (c) of the RTE Act clearly specifies that the 25% quota applies to children admitted ‘to Std I or pre-primary classes.’ However, the Act guarantees free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 years of age. We believe there is a need for this reservation at the pre-primary level,” Javadekar said.

Pointing at the inevitable troubles for the schools ahead, he said: “The problem will arise when admissions to Std I are completed by the schools because then they will be asked to accommodate children in the pre-primary classes.” How will these schools take in more students when they don’t even have an adequate infrastructure, he added.

The organisation plans to hold a series of protests against the resolution starting on May 8 when they will burn a copy of the document outside the office of the deputy director of education. “We will also take the matter to the guardian minister Girish Bapat and stage a protest outside his house on May 10 demanding that the state government reverse this decision,” he said.

The activists are also demanding intervention of the Union government as well as an amendment to the Act to clear up the anomaly for which they will stage protests outside the residence of MP Anil Shirole on May 13.

Source: The Times of India

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