Even as the state education department is making grand plans to conduct online admissions under the Right to Education (RTE) Act for the second year in a row, students who had applied for admissions in the first session of last year still await to be admitted to a school. Close to 30 children who were allotted seats in city schools through online admissions last year and were later refused admissions by the schools were called for a hearing at the office of the deputy director of education on Friday, along with representatives of the schools that denied the admissions.
“We were hopeful that the department will take action against the schools that flout norms and ensure that these students are admitted to the same schools that were allotted to them initially. Till date, no action has been taken against the school,” said Sudhir Paranjape, from the Anundanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti (ASBS), a social group which fights for children’s right to education. Members of ASBS were also present at the meeting along with parents. Both were unhappy with the outcome of the meeting.
“Parents complained that schools refused to admit their children on frivolous grounds such as the distance between their residence and the school. The schools, as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) education officials, were not even aware that the RTE rule specifies that a school can be within one km, three km or five km from the residence of the student,” said K Narayan, member of ASBS. He said that the deputy director was shocked when the BMC officials admitted that they were unaware of the rule.
During the meeting, school representatives were asked to pen down their reasons for denying admissions to students. “If the reasons don’t have a strong standing, we will take necessary action,” said a senior education official on condition of anonymity.
ASBS has also demanded that this time around, admissions to the 25 per cent RTE quota seats should be conducted before general admissions for the remaining 75 per cent seats. “We can be sure that kids from socially and economically backward classes will get the seats they deserve. Otherwise, hundreds of children may not get admission and this will be a mockery of the system,” said Paranjape.