Pune: The State government has issued a notice to private schools that haven't registered for admissions under the Right To Education (RTE) Act, stating that irrespective of their stand, the administration will use last year's data of these schools to work out student strength and consider them registered.
The notice states that these schools will now be available in the list of schools for the online applicants under RTE to choose from. The move came after private school organisations did not pay heed to the notice given by the government that threatened to de-recognise these schools if they refuse to register.
Since the process of RTE admissions for academic year 2018-19 began, more than 3,000 schools across Maharashtra have boycotted the process. They said they wouldn't register for RTE until the government pays them all pending reimbursements against the 25 per cent reserved seats for the past eight years.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Jagruti Dharmadhikari, President, Independent English Schools Association (IESA), said, "We weren't afraid of their de-recognition threat as they have used this move earlier too and started admissions anyway. The notice has come as a shocker to us, and we haven't yet decided what to do about it. The representatives of all the associations, which are a part of the boycott, would be meeting on Monday to decide the further course of action."
The notice, signed by Santosh Gaikwad, Additional Secretary, Education Department, states that while many schools haven't yet registered, the data which they uploaded last year is still available on the web portal, and the administration will go ahead with it. On an experimental level, this project has already been run in Pune district and has been found to be successful. The notice instructs the Cluster Head, Education Officers to check which schools have increased capacity this year and make changes accordingly. The data of the rest of the schools can be verified and will be sent.
This is the first time that many organisations of private schools have come together to fight against the government for holding back the reimbursement promised to them under the RTE Act. However, RTE and education activists said that instead of raising this issue right at the time of admissions, the schools should have fought for this during the academic year as it's the children who will suffer now. According to the latest update on the RTE website, January 30 is seen as the latest date for registrations, after which the online applications would begin.