Tussle between State, IESA taking a toll on students.
Pune: Out of 10,228 students who were allotted schools in the first lottery for admissions under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) in Pune on March 12, only about 50 per cent have taken admissions. Similarly, only 5,713 admissions have taken place by April 4, the extended deadline.
Perhaps as the admissions are so low this year even after more than 20 days of school allotment, the government has further extended the deadline for admissions to April 10. One of the prime reasons behind the fewer admissions this year may be the boycott of RTE by private schools, which shows that the tussle between the schools and the government may actually be harmful to the fate of many students.
“Yes, the admissions this year are quite low as compared to last year. We have also received complaints from parents who have been denied admissions by schools which are boycotting the RTE admissions and we are trying to have a discussion with them. The funds have already come in for reimbursement of 2015-16 and 2016-17 and we will be distribute them by April 10. We are really hoping that schools start admissions for the sake of children,” Shailaja Darade, Education Officer, Pune Zila Parishad, said.
However, Jagruti Dharmadhikari of Independent English Schools Association (IESA) said that the main issue is that the amount of reimbursement quoted by the government is much lower than the actual amount.
“Parents are coming to us for admissions as our names were forcibly included in the registrations despite our boycott and our schools have been allotted to the students. While earlier the number of schools added directly was 41, now 237 such schools have been added to the list.
The private schools under the Federation of School Associations have boycotted the admission process over the issue of non-payment of reimbursement amount for over 25 per cent RTE admissions. While the schools claim that they deserve a total reimbursement of around Rs 900 crore, the government is giving around Rs 300 crore to the schools. After IESA went to the court and the court has given an interim order that no coercive action should be taken against the given schools under the Federation in Maharashtra, which don’t admit RTE students for 2018-19. The order stands until the next hearing scheduled on April 18.
Dharmadhikari said, “We will not give admissions until we get reimbursement or before any directives from the court.”
“Sharad Gosavi, Deputy Director, State Primary Education said that 50 per cent of our funds have already been given, which is a blatant lie,” she added.