No rise in applicants for RTE seats,claims schools’ body

Claiming that there has been ‘no increase’ in the number of applications for seats reserved for underprivileged children in private schools under the Right to Education Act in last 15 days,the schools have now specified February 20 as the “deadline” for converting the reserved seats to the general category.

Written by Ritika Jha | Chandigarh | Published:February 16, 2012 3:21 am

Claiming that there has been ‘no increase’ in the number of applications for seats reserved for underprivileged children in private schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act in last 15 days,the schools have now specified February 20 as the “deadline” for converting the reserved seats to the general category.

While the UT Education Department is in the process of compiling the total number of applications received across 73 private schools,the Independent Schools Association’s (ISA) records show that the number remains as low as 700 against 3,000 seats.

Last month the Department had directed the schools to receive the applications till January 31. However,with the schools reiterating a shortage in the number of applications,the Administration had roped in local NGOs to find more candidates and directed the schools to send in details of applicants by February 15.

In a communication sent to the Director Public Instructions (Schools),ISA has sought clarifications on the per-child-expenditure,child mapping and school mapping,and notification for reimbursements by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD).

Speaking to Newsline,ISA President H S Mamik said,“We have told the Administration that we will not be able to wait beyond February 20. We will release advertisements in local newspapers declaring the vacancy of seats after converting the unclaimed seats into general. Besides,we need clarity on the mode of payment and amount of reimbursements notified by the MHRD,as specified in the Act.”

Also,seeking clearance for expenses incurred by the schools for education of the children admitted under RTE last year,the ISA has sent across the bills of expenses in different schools.

When contacted,DPI (Schools) Sandeep Hans said,“We are not denying last year’s payments to the schools. But let us finalise the per-child-expenditure first. Once we get the total number of reserved seats which have remained vacant,we will decide what to further do. Our NGOs have been visiting the periphery areas to motivate people to apply in private schools. Let us see if they have identified some more candidates.”

Hans added,“But the entire process involves a lot of administrative exercise. How can we decide anything within a day?”

As per the provisions of the RTE Act,all private schools are supposed to reserve 25 per cent of their seats in entry level classes for children from economically weaker sections (EWS) and disadvantaged groups of society. Going by the records available with the Education Department last year,about 600 EWS students are studying across 70 private schools,after being admitted under the RTE provisions.

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