NGO to file PIL against state education dept

Forum for Fairness in Education says despite cabinet passing rules for 24 pc reservation under RTE Act, state has failed to issue circulars and notify these

Since the state government's education department has failed to issue circulars regarding the implementation of 25 per cent reservation in schools for students from the financially weaker sections of society, the Forum for Fairness in Education (FFE), an NGO, has decided to file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court next week.

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The NGO wants to file the PIL against the department as it claims that despite rules being passed in the state cabinet in September under the Right to Education (RTE) Act for compulsory reservation of 25 per cent seats for economically backward children, the state has failed to notify the parties concerned. Despite sending notices repeatedly no circular has been issued, said the NGO.

Private schools who have approached the Supreme Court regarding the reservation and other issues are still awaiting the verdict before reserving 25 per cent seats for economically weaker students, as stipulated in the RTE Act of 2009, and make changes in the admission process.

Sources say that even though most of the private and unaided schools have opposed the clause in the act, they will have to abide by it once the SC approves it. "Even though the matter is still sub judice, there is no stay on the implementation of RTE. The state says it has already issued circulars regarding reservation to some institutes, but it has not set any criterion or made it public. The state has not informed whether the reservation would also include pre-primary or only primary or even secondary section since the act applies to students from 6-14 years. We don't even know if senior KG students who are promoted to Std I will have separate reservations," said Jayant Jain, president of FFE.

Sources say that most of he private schools that have opposed the reservation clause may not be able to bear the expenses if they admit children on reservation, as they are already void of grant from the government.
State Education Minister Rajendra Darda remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts to contact him.

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