Pune: When a section of media tom-tommed over 37,000 admissions having taken place under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act in the city, Pradnya Waghmare of Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI) rubbished the claims stating that many children could not get admissions at the pre-primary level in private schools, especially in big cities owing to the boycott of RTE admissions by many private schools.
BARTI has filled the forms of 18,000 children from the economically weaker sections of the society this year, out of which only 1,350 are from Pune.
“BARTI conducted an offline survey in all 36 districts of the State where RTE admissions take place to find out the number of children eligible for admissions to Junior KG, Senior KG and Std I. We figured out that the number this year was nearly 27,000. However, we could fill the application forms of a very small number of children at pre-primary level though we accomplished our target of filling the forms of a maximum number of children for Std I,” Waghmare said.
Speaking about the drive to help children fill RTE forms, Waghmare said, “Even under RTE, it is only the literate parents who are easily able to apply for admissions in good schools. It is still a very difficult thing to do for illiterate parents. To help these children, last year, we started a pilot project in Pune and Aurangabad and started visiting communities, slum areas to help the parents there fill RTE applications. Looking at the success rate, we decided to implement the programme state-wide this year.”
Like every year, Waghmare pointed out that even this year too, many faced numerous problems while filling the form, few had trouble even in opening the forms and many times, the SC (Scheduled Castes) option was missing from the forms.
Waghmare believes that getting admissions in good schools may change a child’s future. “When a child from a socio-economically backward family gets admitted to a good school, he/she gains much more than the quality education and can help make many lives around him/her better. Hence, the success of RTE is very important. Upgrading those at the grassroots level is necessary for the overall development of society,” Waghmare said.