While it’s already been three long years since the Right to Education (RTE) Act was implemented, it seems that the state government is still having a tough time implementing it. The education department is still waiting to receive information from all the schools in the city so it can renew their recognition.
The RTE rulebook says that all schools must submit documents pertaining to infrastructure and renew their recognition once every three years. Tired of waiting, the department has now issued a warning to all the schools, asking them to send in all their details by March 20, failing which they may be declared illegal. There are over 1,156 schools in the city, under the SSC, ICSE, CBSE, IGCSE and IB boards and the BMC.
The RTE Act, which was implemented on April 1, 2010, made it mandatory for schools to have certain provisions in place if it was to hold on to its recognised status – separate toilets for boys and girls, a playground, clean drinking water for students and other such arrangements. The state also wants to be briefed about whether the schools have been giving 25 per cent of the seats to students from economically weak sections of society. The state had also asked for information from schools that received land from them.
In the circular issued to all the schools in the South Mumbai zone, the department even goes so far as to say that the schools have been withholding the information on purpose, and gives expressed instructions that the information be submitted by March 20, failing which legal action will be taken against them. A few schools in the western and northern zones are yet to submit the details.
Nandan Nagre, joint director of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, said, “The schools were asked to provide information six months ago. But we are still waiting for them to be sent by the district level officers from all education zones. We haven’t received information regarding a single school. The deadline to renew recognition is March 30.”
SC Kedia, head of the Unaided School Forum, said, “The RTE Act is not applicable to unaided minority schools and so they are not liable to send this information to state government. But other schools need to send their information to get fresh recognition, or else they can be de-recognised.”
36 Number of schools in South Mumbai under SSC, ICSE, CBSE, IGCSE and IB boards
612 The number of schools in the western zone under the SSC, ICSE, CBSE, IGCSE and IB boards