Pune: Despite several extended deadlines, only 6,499 students in Pune have taken admissions out of 10,228 who were allotted schools in the first lottery released under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. Considering this, the Education Department has decided to further extend the deadline to April 13, Shailaja Darade, Education Officer, Pune Zilla Parishad, said.
Although, the number of applications seeking admission under RTE was large, various reasons including indifferent attitude of schools and private schools boycotting the admission process have hindered the process. “Last year, there were 58,336 admissions in the State under RTE, this year, after several extensions to the first round itself, there are just 37,113 admissions. The unfriendly attitude of schools and the irresponsible attitude of the government are few of the reasonss behind this lukewarm response. There is no system for RTE complaints, no monitoring of schools and neither do schools face any action. Thus, they get away despite denying RTE admissions,” said RTE activist Mukund Kirdat.
RTE activist Sharad Javadekar said that parents are being harassed and denied admissions over minor mistakes in forms. “Most parents who come to us with complaints related to RTE admissions state that they face harassment over silly mistakes in forms. Most times, these mistakes occur due to a problem in the server itself. The schools as well as the department should understand that the parents they are dealing with are mostly illiterate and need help,” Javadekar said.
Another reason for less admissions is the boycott of RTE admissions observed by private schools associated with the Federation of School Associations over the issue of pending reimbursements against the 25 per cent RTE admissions. While the government has allotted these schools to students, the schools are denying admissions. According to the order issued by the High Court, no coercive action can be taken against schools for denying admissions until the next hearing on April 18.
“While as per the HC order, one can’t stop schools from observing a boycott, the government must now make an alternative arrangement for children who have been allotted these schools. You never know how long a court case can go on. The government must ensure that these kids are absorbed at other schools,” Javadekar said.
Pradnya Waghmare of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI), who helped around 18,000 students fill RTE applications, said that even she has come across cases of parents being harassed by schools. “In Ratnagiri, one of the schools was denying admission to a girl whose form was filled by our volunteer. We had to interfere and inform this to the respective education officer to get the admission done. I heard of at least five to six such cases of children whose forms were filled by BARTI. However, in the first lottery, 2,377 of our kids were allotted schools and they all have taken admissions now,” Waghmare added.