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264 Schools Mumbai Pune No RTE Poor Students Admission...

Not one RTE quota admission in 264 

Pune, Mumbai schools

The analysis reveals that only 8% seats have been filled in standard I and 20% in pre-primary at the end of first round of RTE admissions in Mumbai during the 2015-16 academic year.

PUNE: Two weeks after the new academic year has begun, over 80% seats reserved for students from the economically backward sections in private, unaided schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act remain vacant in Pune and Mumbai schools.

A study by the RTE Resource Centre established at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad says not a single school in Mumbai has filled up all its vacancies while in Pune, only 10 schools have 100% admissions for the 25% reserved quota.

The study also reveals that 264 schools in Pune and Mumbai have failed to admit a single student under the act at the standard I entry level.

The analysis reveals that only 8% seats have been filled in standard I and 20% in pre-primary at the end of first round of RTE admissions in Mumbai during the 2015-16 academic year. While Pune received more applications than vacancies for admission in pre-primary classes, nearly two-thirds of the seats remain vacant at the end of the first round of the admission process in the city. Even in standard I, only 18% of seats have been filled in Pune.

The study revealed that there were two reasons for the low admissions __ imbalance in the seat allotment with several students getting multiple allotments while some were allotted just one school that resulted in the disappointing turnout.

The second factor was 50% of the children who were allocated admissions in one or more schools could not secure final admission.

Nishank Varshney, research associate at the centre, told TOI, "From our observation, the primary reason was that many parents were sent back from schools which used means like demanding fees, delaying the dates of admissions or even refusing to admit children outright in some cases."

Varshney added that the reason for poor admission cannot be attributed to low applications, as full allocations have been allocated in 290 schools in standard I and 258 schools in pre-primary section in Pune.

Rajendra Singh, spokesperson of the Maharashtra English School Trustees Association said the sudden drop in the number of admissions this year is due to a complete failure of the government to implement the act in the state and also failing to reimburse the fees of admitted students.

"In the first year, close to 55,000 students took admission while in the following year, about 92,000 students in the state took admission under RTE. The third year of the implementation of the act also saw about 95,000 admissions in the state. However, for all these admissions conducted by the schools, there has been no reimbursement of fees by the government. Hence, many schools have been reluctant this year to conduct admissions," he added.

Maitreyee Shankar of Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) said they had received complaints from parents regarding some schools not granting admission in standard I, and some refusing to admit students in the pre-primary. The panchayat helps its members secure admissions under the RTE for their children in various schools in Pune.

Matin Mujawar of non-governmental organisation Shikshan Hakka Manch, said the sorry state of RTE admission is due to the uncertainty of the government in implementing the provisions of the act. "The figures merely reflect the poor coordination between the state government and schools for effective implementation of the provisions of the act," he added.

It was the same story in many other cities of the state, said RTE activist Sonali Kunjir. "So many parents have complained to me that the school denied their child admission because the state government and some schools were fighting a case regarding the entry point of admissions under RTE in the court."

Why the fall in numbers

Children getting admission offers in more than one school — We observed that many students got 14 admission offers, others did not get any offer at the end of the first round of the lottery process. In Pune, of a total of 10,820 applicants, 3,691 received an admission offer, 2,650 children were allocated two to five schools and 107 children received admission offers into more than five schools, while 4,372 children could not be allocated any school.

Schools not entertaining the parents during the admission process - Even after taking first factor into account, more than 50% of the children who were allocated admission in one or more schools, could not secure final admission. The survey stated that, the primary reason for this was that many parents were sent back from schools by using various means such as demanding fee, delaying the dates of admissions or even out rightly refusing to admit children in some cases.

(Source: IIM (A) survey)

Govt resolution on April 30

The state government passed a government resolution (GR) on April 30 stated that from the year 2015-16 onwards class I will be the only entry point, and the children who have been allotted admission in pre-primary classes this year, will be provided admission in the same school when they are eligible for class I. The Bombay high court has currently maintained a status-quo on the admission process, while it is hearing a PIL to revoke this GR.

Nishank Varshney, research associate at the centre said eliminating the admissions for pre-primary classes will render useless the whole exercise of the admission process, for which parents spent nearly three months. "The future of nearly 5,000 students who have received allotments in pre-primary class through RTE this year hinges on the outcome of this case. If the April 30 GR is not revoked, most seats will go vacant, as schools will then ask them to pay fees."

The GR not only affects children seeking admission this year, but those who secured admission

in the nursery or junior KG last year, who are now being asked to pay full fees or leave the school.

Times View

The findings of the survey by IIM Ahmedabad's resource centre have only proved what was suspected all along. The fact that 80% reserved seats under the Right to Education Act, 2011 have remained vacant in Pune and Mumbai schools this year shows that economically weaker students are not benefitting from the provisions. The state government's flip-flop about the entry level for admissions, the resultant confusion and court cases have derailed the process further. Resistance from schools has not helped either. The state government and school managements must put their act together to create a system where all the reserved seats are filled and students from poor families get an equal opportunity in seeking education. 

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