A week after the first round of admissions under the Right to Education (RTE) Act was conducted, the BMC education department has been flooded with complaints from parents claiming that schools are not cooperating with the admission procedure.

This year, while the number of schools part of the RTE process went down to 280, the number of seats shot up to over 11,000. Representation pic/Thinkstock
This year, while the number of schools part of the RTE process went down to 280, the number of seats shot up to over 11,000. Representation pic/Thinkstock

However, the Unaided Schools’ Forum claims that the issue is not the schools’ non-compliance of providing admission under RTE. On Friday, the forum has highlighted an error in the process being followed in the city, claiming that the education department has not interpreted the provisions under RTE correctly.

“Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE amended in the state says that schools that have pre-primary sections (kindergarten) should follow the entry level admission in pre-primary section only. However, the education department is expecting these schools to allow admission in Std I as well, which is flouting the provisions of the Act,” said S C Kedia, honorary secretary of Unaided Schools’ Forum.

Kedia said that many schools have received allotment letters by parents, provided to them by the education department, for admission in kindergarten as well as Std I. “This is causing a lot of confusion and parents are unduly blaming the school,” he added.

The Right to Education Act, introduced in 2009, asks schools to set aside 25 per cent seats in Std I for children from socially and economically backward classes of the society. When the Act was introduced in Maharashtra, the government tweaked the rule, and stated that schools will set aside the seats at entry level (either kindergarten or Std I) for the same purpose.

In 2014, the RTE process was held online in Mumbai and Pune for the first time. In Mumbai, 313 schools were part of the process and over 7,000 seats were made available. Strangely, this year, while the number of schools has gone down to 280, over 11,000 seats are available for the quota admissions.