RTE ad­mis­sions over, more than 6K seats lie va­cant

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Puja Ped­nekar

THE HIGH COURT HAD OR­DERED BMC AND SCHOOLS TO PUB­LI­CISE THE FREE SEATS

The fifth round for ad­mis­sions to Right to Ed­u­ca­tion (RTE) seats, re­served for poor stu­dents, con­cluded in Mum­bai on Sat­ur­day. Even though around 9,400 ap­pli­cants [the high­est in four years] took part in the process this year, only 2,800 con­firmed ad­mis­sions.

The RTE Act, 2009 and its rules stip­u­late that unaided, non-mi­nor­ity pri­vate schools set aside 25% of their seats for stu­dents from fam­i­lies earn­ing less than one lakh an­nu­ally, and those be­long­ing to so­cially dis­ad­van­taged groups. These stu­dents are taught free of cost from Classes 1 to 8, and the gov­ern­ment re­im­burses the school later.

But with few stu­dents con­firm­ing ad­mis­sion, there are close to 5,000 seats left­over at the en­trylevel in 334 pri­vate schools in Mum­bai, which par­tic­i­pated in the on­line ad­mis­sion process car­ried out by the BMC.

Adding to the woes of the schools’ man­age­ment, these seats will re­main va­cant for the aca­demic year 2017-18 as Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment has barred schools from ad­mit­ting non-rte stu­dents for these seats. Schools are up­set at los­ing rev­enue as the state gov­ern­ment will not reim burse them for the va­cant seats “These seats are pil­ing on ev­ery year and eat­ing into our reve nue,” said Amol Dhamd­here vice-pres­i­dent of the In­dian Edu cation So­ci­ety (IES) schools and di­rec­tor of San­jee­vani In­terna tional School in Mu­lund. “The depart­ment should find a way to in­crease re­sponse for the RTE quota,” he added.

BMC ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cials said that most fam­i­lies tar­get seats in pop­u­lar city schools and do not ac­cept ad­mis­sion in other schools. “A few pop­u­lar schools re­ceived hun­dreds of ap­plica tions while 34 schools did not have any tak­ers,” said Nisaar Khan, ed­u­ca­tion in­spec­tor of BMC. “Stu­dents don’t re­port for ad­mis­sion if they don’t get a school of their choice,” he added

The of­fi­cial also pointed out that the num­ber of ad­mis­sions has been in­creas­ing grad­u­ally. In 2014-15 only 1,069 stu­dents were ad­mit­ted. In 2016-16, the num­ber of ad­mis­sions grew to 1,688 in and 2,506 in 2016-17.

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