Glitches on RTE portal haunt parents

Prajakta Joshi
Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Activists, parents facing tough time filling forms under RTE quota

PUNE: The technical efficiency of the government portal has been questioned yet again, as parents and activists are having a tough time pinpointing their locations while filling forms under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. Surprisingly, it has been noticed that this issue is more recurrent in Pune and Mumbai than any other district in the State.

Since last year, the portal has been equipped with Google Maps to help parents locate their exact addresses, as the schools were to be selected within a radius of three to four kilometres from the residences. However, seven days since the process of online application has begun, parents and activists helping them fill the forms are finding it difficult to fill their forms.

“From whichever location in Pune or Pimpri-Chinchwad that I try to fill the forms, the Google Maps shows the pre-set location of Kasba, which we are finding difficult to change,” Sonal Bhoyar of NGO Sneh Foundation told Sakal Times.

The Foundation has been helping parents from slums to fill the online applications of their children under RTE for the past three years. Bhoyar added, “This year, I have not found any other issue in the web portal apart from the location. Also, I could not download the app. RTE Act has been very beneficial to underprivileged students, and these issues need to be fixed so that more students can benefit.”

An offline survey conducted by the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI) identified 36,000 children across the State that they aim to help apply for RTE. “We have 176 centres Statewide, out of which 10 are in Pune. Only our coordinators in Pune and Mumbai have maximum complaints regarding Google Maps. For the past three to four days, we are trying to fill the forms, but are unable to do so. We cannot afford to spend more than three days over one form, as it will disrupt the whole schedule of helping more parents,” Pradnya Waghmare of BARTI, Pune said.

While it is the responsibility of the education officers to inform the concerned personnel regarding portal glitches, nothing could be done to resolve the issue over the weekend. “We messaged and informed many of the parents to wait till Monday so that forms could be filled,” RTE activist Mukund Kirdat of AAP Palak Union, said.

- Despite glitches in the website and just a week into the online application process, 24,172 applicants had filled the forms till Monday, for a total of 16,619 seats in Pune. Statewide 1,00,083 applications have been made for 1,16,818 seats.
- “The number of applications is usually more than double the number of vacancies in Pune every year. This year, it might go even higher,” said RTE activist Mukund Kirdat of AAP Palak Union.
- He added, “This year, the SEBC (Maratha) has been included in reservation category, which means these candidates do not have to provide income proof. Also, while earlier only the income certificate from tehsildar was valid, this year any private company payslip could also be produced as income certificates. This will enable more parents to apply.”

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