Mumbai: RTE activists unhappy with edu dept's lukewarm efforts

Activists claim that with the delay in process, and the low communication from the education department, the second year of Right to Education (RTE) admissions may face the same fate as last year

The education department seems busy conducting admissions for the Right to Education (RTE) quota, however, activists are unhappy with the way the process is being handled by them.

Activists are worried that like last year, the RTE admissions of this year might get delayed, delaying the admission and studies of eligible students. File pic for representation
Activists are worried that like last year, the RTE admissions of this year might get delayed, delaying the admission and studies of eligible students. File pic for representation

This year, only two print advertisements were released by the department to make parents aware about the admissions, which, according to activists, has led to a very dismal response from the schools as well as applicants.

And just like last year, the admission process is getting delayed again. “We released one advertisement in January and another in February. At the same time, our 24-hour help centres are already getting queries,” informed Shambhavi Jogi, BMC education officer.

However, the RTE Act clearly stipulates repeated advertisements in all forms of media to be able to reach out to a larger audience, so that every school get applications from parents in the neighbourhood. Jogi insists that their communication has been effective, and many parents have already started applying for admissions.

However, the process is getting detained, as eligible schools are yet to register for the online admission process. Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti (ASBS), a social group working to ensure education for every child took it upon themselves to make people aware of their rights.

“Before the advertisements were released, our team had already collected information of about 250 children in Dharavi who are eligible for the RTE quota for the coming academic session. Our activists have taken the details of the kids and their parents.

This will make the process easier when we help them apply for schools through the online process,” said Sudhir Paranjape, an activist from ASBS. Other members have also conducted a similar exercise in Andheri, where they managed to collect information of close to 600 children.

‘Delayed and denied’
According to the information provided by the education department, parents of RTE applicants have to submit a list of documents to be eligible for the seats under the quota. One of the documents is the income certificate of the applicant’s parents.

“Last year, the admission process started in March and parents had applied with their income certificates till that time. However, since the process got delayed till almost May, parents had to submit fresh certificates with their updated income, forcing many to re-apply for the same,” said Avisha Kulkarni, an activist.

She added that last year, the department was not clear with their instructions. “Many schools ignored admission forms of applicants because of the ‘outdated’ income certificates of their parents,” she said. However, officials from the education department stated that all the instructions are being explained clearly to parents at all their help centres.

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