Pune: Following Mumbai High Court’s order to include more economically weaker sections of society in the 25 per cent admissions quota under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, education activists have said that these new rules are nothing but an eyewash and will remain on paper, as the implementation of the existing laws is unsatisfactory.
In accordance with the High Court order, the State government has released a GR to include Vimukta/Denotified Tribes (VJ A), Nomadic Tribes (NT B), Nomadic Tribes (NT C), Nomadic Tribes (NT D), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Special Backward Classes (SBC) as well for admissions under RTE. The GR also mentions inclusion of HIV-affected children. Also, parents in the newly added castes will not have to produce income certificates for admission.
Speaking about this, Sharad Javadekar, convener of Akhil Bharatiya Samajwadi Adhyapak Sabha, said while the decision will provide some relief to parents, as they do not have to submit income certificates, the government first needs to desperately resolve the RTE admission chaos.
“Right now, even if schools are allotted to students on paper, the admissions are not happening. Private schools aren’t cooperating and the education department does not seem to have any control over them. Despite so many complaints, no concrete action has been taken against any school denying RTE admissions in the past nine years. Around 40 per cent of the seats in urban areas still remain vacant despite terrific response from students, because they are denied admissions,” Javadekar said. He added that if this does not change, even children from the newly added castes wouldn’t get any justice.
“The court order had come out on April 24. It’s confusing why the government had to wait so long to issue the GR. The second lottery for the regular RTE admissions this year is still pending. When is the government planning to give admissions to the newly included students?” Mukund Kirdat, RTE and AAP activist questioned.
He added, “Now, admissions at almost all private schools are full. The parents waiting for RTE might be in trouble if they don’t get admission through RTE, as well as regular procedures.”
He also added that as opposed to how it works in all the other educational courses, here, there is no mention of creamy layer conditions for OBC students, and this might add to the ambiguity. This will further make enforcement of the law challenging.
The GR has ordered necessary changes in the definition of the RTE beneficiaries according to the new rules, and has asked for new applications from the parents of the new sections. While income certificate is not necessary for OBC parents, they will have to submit caste certificates. Medical certificates of HIV-affected students also needs to be submitted.
Second lottery not yet out
Interestingly, the second lottery for the allotment of schools to students for RTE admissions has not yet been released, more than a month after the first lottery. While the first round of admissions took a long time, and several extensions in deadline were made as the admissions weren’t taking place due to denial by schools, the court later passed an order for schools fighting a case for reimbursement to start with the admissions. Despite this, the admissions aren’t satisfactory and there is still no sign of the second lottery. Activists have blamed the arrogance of schools and lackadaisical attitude of the Education Department for this.