Mumbai: Students face slimmer chances in RTE quota admissions this year

While applications for the RTE quota admissions will begin from February 23, officials said that there would be considerably fewer seats this year as many schools had dropped out of the programme

Spelling an end to a long wait by anxious parents, the state education department has finally revealed that the process for quota admissions under the Right to Education (RTE) Act for the academic year 2015-16 will begin from next week.

Activists, students and parents have  protested several times in the past, over uncertainties in the RTE admission quota. File pic for representation
Activists, students and parents have  protested several times in the past, over uncertainties in the RTE admission quota. File pic for representation

Parents and students will be less pleased, however, to learn that their chances for a good admission have become even slimmer this year, with several schools dropping out of the RTE programme. While parents can begin applying for admissions from February 23, schools began registering online on February 16.

But only 280 schools registered this year, compared to 315 schools last year. Officials said that in less than a year, 35 schools sought and were granted minority status. According to an April 2012 Supreme Court order, unaided minority schools are exempted from reserving 25 per cent of their seats at entry level admissions for children from the socially and economically backward classes of the society.

This will cause the number seats available under RTE to drop drastically, BMC education inspector Shambhavi Jogi pointed out. We will find out the total number of seats available for admission this year within a day and release it to the public for their benefit. All 24 of our admission centers are already functional and parents can approach any of these centers for help,” she added.

While parents are largely unaware of this development, activists are upset that the government is approving minority status for schools even though it means worse odds for students. “The fact that minority schools are exempted from RTE is a huge loss to students because the best of the schools in the country are minority schools. I won’t be surprised if by next year another 50-odd schools get minority status.

Then there will be no minority schools left and the government can stop fooling people,” said Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE). Many were also angry over minimal advertising for the RTE admissions the second year in a row. “Last year, parents were not aware about the admissions process at all, therefore many children were left out of the system.

This year, too, we are facing the same problem. Once again admissions are getting delayed and we dread that students will be left without seats, again,” said K Narayan, from the NGO Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti, which helps parents with admission under the RTE quota.

Details awaited
While the BMC education department has started the admissions process, they are still waiting for the state education department to release the full schedule.

“As of now we only know that parents can start applying after February 23, but we have no idea about when the process ends or when the first round of admissions will take place. We are hoping to get the full schedule soon,” said BMC education inspector Shambhavi Jogi.

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