Mumbai: School turns down 50 RTE students, as they live 'too far'

While a Malad school has blamed it on their houses not fitting the distance criterion, the education dept says they have already verified these details

Parents of students who are Right to Education (RTE) applicants had just thought that after facing a flawed online admission system, it would be smooth sailing from now. But Malad’s St Joseph School made that a pipe dream. The school refused
to admit 50 children, saying their residences were farther from the school than the permitted 3-km limit under the Act.
While here the school is saying the children’s houses are not close to the school, the parents’ argument is that if that was the case, the education department wouldn’t have allotted them to the school.

a had gathered outside the school yesterday after attempting to resolve the issue for a week.  Pic/Nimesh Dave
Angry parents had gathered outside the school yesterday after attempting to resolve the issue for a week.
Pic/Nimesh Dave   

Angry parents had gathered outside the school yesterday after trying to solve the matter quietly for five days. Sufiya Bukhari, one of the worried parents, said, “We have been going to the school since April 22, a day after we got an SMS of allotment from the education department. Everyday, everybody was given different reasons. The school can’t keep us hanging. We have approached the local education officer.”

The education department, before allotting schools to students, makes sure that it fits all the requirements. “We filled the admission application after the authorities verified if we fall in the said distance. Otherwise, the system would not have had accepted our application. This school was mentioned on the list of schools available to us, considering our residential address. Now suddenly, the school cannot deny admission. If they have any problem, it is between the school and the education department. Why are we suffering?” she added.

Another parent, Siraj Shaikh, said, “One cannot apply for a school that does not fall in the permitted radius. In this case, either the education department has made a wrong allotment or the school is lying.”

Another reason
Distance is not the only reason the school has given to reject these children. They said they don’t even have the capacity to accommodate them.

RTE activist Samir said, “This is not possible as allotments are done considering the available intake capacity of that school because all schools have to register and mention those specifications.”

Authorityspeak
While the school didn’t answer mid-day’s calls despite repeated efforts, Deputy Education Officer Prakash Charate, in-charge of RTE admissions in Mumbai, said, “The school cannot deny admission now stating they do not have enough capacity or on grounds of distance because allotments are done after verifying all these aspects.” 

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