RTE: Who’ll teach these 60 children?

Even the Right to Education Act holds no hope for these 60 underprivileged children,as their file seems to have stuck in procedural technicalities.

Written by Ritika Jha | Chandigarh | Published:March 16, 2012 1:17 am

A city-based NGO sends names of these kids to administration as told but technicalities come in the way of their admission

Even the Right to Education Act holds no hope for these 60 underprivileged children,as their file seems to have stuck in procedural technicalities.

The UT Administration had asked NGOs to identify children who were eligible for admission under the RTE,and a city-based NGO,Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS),had come forward and identified 60 children in various colonies and sent their details to the administration and Independent Schools Association (ISA) on February 15.

Now here lies the rub: while officials insist the children should approach the schools first,representatives of schools maintain most of these children are ineligible for admission since none of them fulfils the neighbourhood criteria.

DPI (schools) Sandeep Hans says “we will definitely look into the issue in case they have any complaints of denial of admission against any of the schools”. “But the children should approach the schools first. We cannot mark the list to the schools directly,” he adds.

According to ISA president H S Mamik,a school can admit children living within a radius of 1 km,going by the RTE Act’s neighbourhood norms. “None of these areas fall within the neighbourhood of our schools. Besides,most of these children are aged above 4 while the entry class in the majority of the schools is pre-nursery or nursery. Thus,the children are ineligible.”

However,Ravi Bedi,chief functionary of YTTS,says they have “left it to the schools and the administration to decide as to where these children should be accommodated”. “The administration had approached us to help them identify eligible children. We have done our job. There are certain norms of the Act which are to be considered for admissions. However,there is no response from any of the sides till now.” Of the 60 children the NGO identified,13 are from Mauli Jagran,14 from Indra Colony,17 from Mauli village and 16 from different colonies in Sector 25.

While most private schools have already declared that there are not enough takers for the seats reserved under the RTE Act in their entry-level classes — as per ISA records,there are no takers for over 50 per cent seats reserved under RTE in 73 private schools — the UT Administration has preferred to silently support the schools as it has now planned to convert the unclaimed seats into general category.

Officials say the per-child expenditure for reimbursements to be paid to schools will be finalised within two days. Also,the schools have sent the details of the unclaimed RTE seats. The administration will put out ads in local newspapers and wait for applicants for a week. In case the seats remain vacant even after a week,they will be converted into general category.

The RTE Act makes it mandatory for all private schools in the city to reserve 25 per cent seats in the entry-level class for underprivileged children and teach them free of cost. The Act states that a state can allow extension of the neighbourhood area,depending on the location of schools in the city.

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