Mumbai: 10,000 RTE seats in schools still lie vacant

Activists blame GR issued by state for creating confusion over online admission process; have written to the CM seeking his intervention

With less than two weeks remaining for schools to commence the new academic year, it has been learnt that over 10,000 seats across 280 city schools — reserved under the Right to Education (RTE) Act are lying vacant.

Vinod Tawde, Minister Of Higher & Technical Education
Vinod Tawde, Minister Of Higher & Technical Education

Activists have blamed the government resolution (GR) issued on April 30 for creating unwanted confusion over the admission process for the pre-primary section. They have now written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking his intervention in the matter.

“For now, we want to ensure that seats allotted during the first round of admissions are confirmed by the schools. Schools flouting the norms will be issued notices,” said an official from the BMC education department. The official claimed that the second round for online RTE admissions would be conducted once they get a clear direction from the state education department.

Deal breaker
Activists claim that the confusion over the admissions started after the state issued the GR, wherein it gave schools the freedom to cancel admissions for the pre-primary section. Parents and activists challenged the GR in the Bombay High Court.

“The court understood the matter and gave clear directions that the GR should be squashed and admissions should continue like they did before. But the state government is pretending as if there’s a stay on the entire admission process, thus leaving thousands of children and their parents in the lurch,” said Sudhir Paranjape from Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti (ASBS), a city-based NGO.

Seeking CM’s help
With no assurances coming from the education department, ASBS members wrote to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to intervene and resolve the issue. “The admissions have been stalled for over a month now, despite the HC’s order.

This is a clear violation of the court’s order,” said S Narayan, ASBS member. He added that parents were still hopeful that admissions would start on time and their children will be placed in schools of their choice.

Bone of contention
The state issued the GR on April 30, wherein schools were allowed to cancel pre-primary admissions. However, the schools had to continue with the Class I admissions.

Parents and activists claimed that the moment the education department passed on the GR to the schools, various school managements handed over the GR copies to the parents and told them not to send their children to the school.

Parents and activists filed a PIL in the first week of May, challenging the cancellation of admissions of their children. The court issued directives on May 11, asking that status quo be maintained pertaining to pre-primary admissions.

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