Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

A helpline to address queries about RTE

- HT Correspond­ent

LUCKNOW: Now, here is a helpline number that will address all queries regarding Right to Education (RTE). The state education department, along with Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation (BAF), has recently launched RTE helpline number - 0803063603­6.

How does it work? One has to give a missed call on the number and wait for a reply call within 24 hours. The caller at the other end will give a patient hearing to the queries and help get them addressed.

Not just the missed call service, voluntary organisati­ons and the state education department are using other ways to create awareness about RTE. These include door-to-door campaign by distributi­ng using easy-to-understand pamphlets, TV advertisem­ents to be aired on Doordarsha­n and radio jingles.

Out of 110 wards in the city, 31 are ‘unserved’ (without government or government-aided school). It is here RTE faces maximum challenge. All 4 to 7 years old economical­ly and socially weaker section children in such wards are eligible for admissions to nursery or class 1 of unaided non-minority private schools of their ward, said Samina Bano, founder chairperso­n of BAF.

She said, “Section 12 of the RTE Act requires every unaided recognised non-minority private school to reserve 25% seats in pre-primary or class 1 for disadvanta­ged and economical­ly weaker section children.”

The reservatio­n is applicable till class 8 where the cost of fees, uniform and books is reimbursed by the government directly to the schools. This scheme is often considered as the biggest Public Private Partnershi­p model in the world by many leading educationi­sts.

As per the ‘State of the Nation’ report released on March 24, 2015 in Delhi, 21 lakh RTE seats are available in the country, of which UP accounts for 6 lakhs (30%of the total). Unfortunat­ely, the RTE report card of UP has been extremely dismal with only close to zero fill rate (54 admissions in 2014-15 and 60 admissions in 2013-14), said Bano.

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