The Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) seems to be have been a failure if recent statistics compiled by the state education directorate on the admission of economically weaker sections (EWS) students to private schools in Maharashtra are anything to go by.
A total of 1,17,000 seats in private schools in the state are supposed to be filled under the 25 per cent mandatory quota under RTE. However, only 54,000 (46.15) per cent EWS students were admitted till July end. To ensure these seats are filled the state has proposed the centralised admission procedure (CAP) from next year.
“Till date 54,000 admissions have taken place under RTE at private-aided and unaided schools across the state. We can’t term it as a failure as almost all schools have admitted some students under RTE,” said Mahaveer Mane, state education director (primary).
“The reasons behind over 50 per cent seats lying vacant are varied. But, each private school has admitted at least one student under RTE,” claimed Mane.
Education activist Matin Mujawar said, “In Pune region alone there are around 15 per cent schools that have simply not given admission under RTE. I have submitted the details about such schools to the state and despite that nothing has been done.
So I have only the apathy of government officials to blame.” This is the second consecutive year that the state education department has failed to fill all seats under the RTE. The department is now proposing to regulate these admissions via the centralised admission procedure.
“I am going to send a proposal in this regard to the government. If the government approves it we are all set to introduce CAP from next year,” said Mane. Even after repeated attempts state school education minister Rajendra Darda was unavailable for comment.
RTE in Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha took up the issue of private schools not entertaining applications for admission under RTE. A Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha recently asked for the number of schools not giving admissions under RTE. “We have got a notice from the Rajya Sabha, asking my department to give details of private schools that have decreased intake to make sure fewer EWS students are admitted,” Mane said.