Pune: Against every seat in the 25% reserved quota in Pune’s schools, at least two students have applied this time under the Right to Education Act, 2009.
About 18,057 applications have been received for 7,900 seats this academic year. It means once the admissions are over, more than 10,000 students seeking admission to the English medium schools under the RTE Act would be left out.
Activists fear with the admission process already over in the unaided schools, parents would be left with no option but to admit their children in municipal schools.
Maitreyi Shankar, an activist from Kagad, Kach, Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), a union of wastepickers, said the best way out was to hold admissions to regular seats and those reserved under RTE simultaneously. Not only will it give more option to parents from disadvantaged families, but will also reduce the discrimination faced by students.
According to the RTE Act, 25% seats in entry-level classes should be reserved for students from economically, socially and physically disadvantaged sections of the society. For open category students, the annual income of parents must be below Rs 1 lakh, or must belong to either Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or must have more than 40% to be eligible for an RTE seat.
“The problem now is almost all schools have closed their admissions. So, these kids will have to opt for government schools. There will be some multiple entries among the applicants as well as some who have already taken admission but have applied under RTE. Even if we leave this number aside, a huge number of students will not get admission in any school,” said Shankar.
Education activist Mukund Kirdat said considering that the income limit was decided in 2009, there was a need to change a lot of by-laws associated with RTE, the power for which is vested with the state government. “It has been six years since the income limit to be eligible for RTE was decided. There has been a huge inflation over the years. Hence, there is a need to increase the income limit. Even a person earning Rs 2 lakh per annum can fit into this category. So, the government needs to take his into account.”
Another major problem that the activists highlighted was the need to put a clause for including an income limit even in the socially disadvantaged category. “This will ensure the really needy people get the benefit of the RTE Act,” added Kirdat.
Mushtaq Shaikh, education officer at Pune Zilla Parishad said, “The lottery will be held in Pawar Public school in Hadapsar on April 30 at 11 am. Once the result of the lottery is announced, the admission process will start. Parents can approach respective schools assigned to them. ”
Source : The Times of India