Election duties slow down RTE admissions in the city

Prajakta Joshi
Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The parents were worried as the last date of admission is April 26 and there is no notification yet as to whether it will be extended or not.

PUNE: The process of admissions under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act has slowed down this year as the concerned education officers and teachers have been engaged in election duty. 

While this year, the State Government had appointed a committee of education officers and teachers to check the documents of the RTE parents, the work was lagging behind.

“After receiving the SMSes regarding the allocation of schools for their children, the parents were supposed to take all necessary documents to these committee members for the verification. However, at many centres, these committee members are busy in the election duty and thus they were not present,” RTE activist Mukund Kirdat of AAP Palak Union said.

“The committee had been appointed this year to ensure that the schools do not reject admissions to children under RTE giving the excuse of improper or fake documents. This was meant to make the process faster and more convenient for the parents. However, it seems to be getting even slower,” Kirdat said.

Kirdat further said that at some RTE centres, the officials were absent and no clarification was given to parents when the verification letter will be presented to them.

“We had been going to RTE centre in Wagholi since last week and had also submitted our documents for verification. But we were not getting the letter that the education officer was supposed to issue, as he wouldn’t come to the office. Finally, on Monday, we received the letter and will be carrying out the admission process. We know a few parents who have been told to come after April 23 (polling day),”” an RTE parent said on condition of anonymity.

The parents were worried as the last date of admission is April 26 and there is no notification yet as to whether it will be extended or not. Further, the public holidays in the last week also slowed down the admission process. Even if the deadline gets extended, it will delay the process, something that the government officials were avoiding as the process has already begun late this year.

Many teachers, even those on the appointed committee have been assigned election-related work. Similarly, many schools that have RTE centres are being used as polling booths. Hence, the RTE work at many centres has either stopped or slowed down until the election, Education Officer at the Education Department of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) told Sakal Times.

“There are many such schools. For example, Deen Dayal School in Kothrud is one of our main RTE centres. However, we have not been able to do any work over there for the past couple of days because it is also a polling booth. We have given orders to many centres that wherever possible, they can shift the RTE centres until the election,” he added.

DOCUMENT VERIFICATION
There were cases where the parents were asked to produce PAN cards since the committee members had a suspicion about the income certificate provided by them. 

“We have heard that because of this, at some centres in Kothrud and Aundh, all parents were told to produce PAN cards. It was not right, as these parents mostly from economically backward families do not always make the PAN card. There should be a different method to verify the income,” Kirdat said.

However, clarifying on the matter, Daundkar said that education officers have been instructed not to ask for any such additional documents.

“We completely trust the income certificates issued by the competent authority and do not challenge those unless we receive complaints. Even after receiving these complaints, we send those to the Revenue Department again, so that they can verify those and resolve the issue,” the education officer added.

PROCESS DELAYED
From April 11 to 22, only 5,586 children out of the 12,566 selected have made admissions in Pune district. There are 16,580 vacancies at 963 schools.

Statewide, 24,200 admissions have been made out of 67,706 selections for 1,16,779 vacancies.

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