Polls come in way of poor seeking admission under RTE

Updated: May 19, 2014, 15:09 IST | Niranjan Medhekar |

With the government machinery is occupied with poll work, parents seeking admission under Right To Education are running about to gather essential documents in time to make the deadline

It’s a toss-up between enforcement of the fundament rights of citizens, as Lok Sabha polls take precedence over every other public work till May. Civic officials are busy preparing for election duty, and parents seeking admission under the Right to Education-mandated 25% quota for the poor have to wait to get required documentation, until it’s too late.

Sanjay Sharma, father of three, earns Rs 8,000 a month. Since his annual income is below Rs 1 lakh he is eligible to seek admission for his kids in a private school, under the 25 per cent quota mandated by the Right To Education (RTE) Act. But since he doesn’t have the income certificate, he was not unable to participate in the online admission process started by the state directorate of education (primary) on Monday.

With government staffers occupied with the upcoming general elections, Sharma got a date in late April to collect his income certificate. The last date to apply for the online admissions is March 29.

The state education department began its online RTE admission drive yesterday, on a pilot basis, in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and South Mumbai. They have launched the website www.rtemaharashtra.in for parents to fill up and submit their forms with scanned copies of essential documents.

On the first day of the admissions, many parents shared Sharma’s plight. They either didn’t have income certificate or other essential documents like cast or disability certificate.

They approached their nearby admission centres, set up by the education department, in the hope that their children would get admission at reputable English-medium schools, but they returned empty-handed.

“I have all other documents like Aadhaar card, birth certificate, residential proof. I am running from pillar to post for the admission of my four-year-old daughter. The only document I am missing is the income certificate, and the officials are insisting in it. What will I do, since I would not get this document before March 29, the deadline,” Sharma said.

“I am the only breadwinner in my family and I am finding it very difficult to enroll all my children in private English-medium school. So I decided to at least ensure my younger daughter’s admission under RTE quota. But it seems that our fate is against us,” he said.

In Pune region, a total of 9,440 seats are available at entry level in private schools under the 25 per cent RTE reservation. According to the timetable, after receiving admission forms by March 29, the admissions committee officials will verify them and decide the date of lottery through which students who participated in the drive will receive a seat in a nearby school.

Satish Kanade, a resident of Vadarwadi, is trying to secure admission for his sister’s daughter. He said, “Since morning I have been making rounds of this place. I have been here at least eight times, hoping that I would find a way to get permission to produce the income certificate afterwards. But the officials told me that till I submit all the required documents, my form won’t be processed.”

Expert suggests

Social activist Tushar Vaidya, who was present at the Shivajinagar admission centre, said, “The state government should find a way to accommodate parents missing one or two of the required documents. They should accept admission forms now and ask parents to submit the documents at the time of admission, with the condition that if they do not produce the documents, admission of their wards would be cancelled.”

caught up in the paperwork: Sanjay Sharma, father of three, is running form pillar to post trying to secure an income certificate  for securing his four-year-old daughter’s admission

Authorities say
Ramdas Poman, superintendent of PMC education board, said, “We just can’t accept forms of parents who don’t
have the required documents, as the entire system is online and the form will not get processed till we attach scanned copies of documents, such as cast and income certificates.”

When contacted, tehsildar of Pune city, Vaishali Rajmane, conformed that most of her staff was busy with election work. She said that parents should not wait till the eleventh hour to apply and seek these important documents. 

“I can assure you that if parents approached citizen facility centres (CFC), we can deliver them income certificates in a couple of days. Getting cast certificates on such an urgent basis is difficult. For income certificate also they have to come up with Talathi dakhla,” Rajmane said.

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