Nagpur | Schools, education department head for showdown over RTE

Nagpur:About 290 schools that have been served show cause notice by the the local education department over not resuming Right To Education (RTE) quota admissions have to reply by Wednesday evening or face de-recognition. The notice sent by the deputy director of education (Nagpur division) questions refusal of admission to students selected through an online lottery for 25% quota.

This entire episode seems to be going downhill as schools are irked by the notices. Principal of a popular school, who had not received the notice as of Tuesday morning, said, “How can the department issue a show cause notice when the entire matter has gone to court? From what we have learnt from media, the Bombay High Court has put a stay on the April 30 GR of the state government asking us to cancel pre-primary admissions and make Std I as the entry point. Our issue was that schools were being asked to admit kids in both pre-primary and primary sections.” Top schools in the city have put their foot down saying admitting kids at both levels was impossible.

The April 30 GR was meant to make things easy by declaring that Std I will be the entry point and schools are entitled to give admissions there itself. However, the local education department remained adamant and interpreted the GR in a completely different way saying admission has to be given at both levels. The confusion continued for a few days when finally on May 5 the Bombay HC passed an order declaring status quo. This effectively meant schools have to follow the admission rules that existed pre-April 30.

Another school owner said, “Now we are ready for nursery admission and will do the entire thing within a day but what is the guarantee the rule won’t change after that? Every 10 days we see something new happening and there is complete confusion. The government GR and education department’s letters only make it more ambiguous. Unless there are clear instructions that leave no space for misinterpretation, it will be very risky for admissions.”

Shahid Sharif, chairman of a NGO that focuses on RTE, said, “On Tuesday we had a meeting with education officials and they were keen to resolve the issue fast. Our focus is only on kids and them getting admission in schools where they were selected through lottery. We are all waiting for schools to respond to the show cause notice now.”

Grant for transportation for rural students

The state government has approved Rs 300 per month as transportation allowance to ensure that students in rural areas do not miss school. This applies only to students covered under the RTE Act and have not availed similar benefits through other government schemes. Preference for transportation reimbursement will be for State Transport bus pass and only on non-availability of the same can private transporters be engaged. The local education department has been assigned the task of coordinating the entire thing.

Khandve in state yoga panel

The state government has appointed Ram Khandve as a member of a special committee which will plan celebration of International Yoga Day in schools. June 21 has been marked as the International Yoga Day and the state education ministry is taking keen interest to propagate the event. The 24-member committee, which includes academicians, celebrities, yoga gurus, academicians and government officials has been tasked with chalking out programmes keeping in mind the school schedule. In Vidarbha, since the schools do not resume till June 26, the plan will have to be tweaked.

 

Source: The Times of India

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