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After round three, 5,500 RTE seats still lie vacant in Mumbai

After the third round of online RTE admissions, the education department has managed to fill another 381 seats, making a total of 2,710 seats

After five months and three admission rounds, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) education department has managed to fill only 2,710 seats under Right to Education (RTE) Act, leaving close to 5,500 seats vacant in the city.

According to the affidavit submitted at the Bombay High Court, September 30 was the last day for the BMC to finish the online admissions. By the end of the deadline, it managed to confirm another 381 admissions. “We were surprised to receive applications in the third round of online admissions and have ensured that they are all allotted seats.

Around 381 applicants’ admission was confirmed in the last round and we will see to it that they get admissions in the school,” said an official from the BMC education department. He added that the civic body is still in the process of deciding the fate of vacant seats in schools, after the high court had asked them to resolve the matter.

After the allotment of seats in the first two admission rounds, NGO Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti had filed a PIL highlighting the plight of hundreds of students who despite getting their admission confirmed were not allotted seats by the school. In the petition, they had submitted a list of around 250 students to the BMC and the court who were awaiting confirmation from schools.

“The civic body submitted their reply to our petition stating that from the time the PIL was filed, they could get only 59 admissions confirmed. In their reply, they mentioned that 104 students’ parents never approached the schools and six applicants were ineligible,” said advocate O P Singh, of the NGO. According to the advocate, the claim by the BMC was baseless.

“We had put together the list after personally interacting with the students and their parents. It is impossible that they did not approach the schools for the seats allotted to them. We plan to submit our reply to the court soon,” added Singh. While the high court has asked the BMC to figure out a way to fill the remaining vacant seats, members of the NGO have opposed the idea of giving them away to general category students.

“The purpose of creating a 25 per cent reservation was to ensure that children from economically and socially backward classes of society get a chance to study in good schools. Government should ensure that the vacant seats are filled by deserving candidates only,” said Sudhir Paranjape from the NGO.

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