With the introduction of online admissions for the 25 per cent quota seats for students from economically weaker section (EWS) under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the number of applications this year has doubled compared to last year.
This year, around 6,560 students applied online for 8,243 seats in city schools as on Monday, the last day of the admission.
The online process, which began April 10, was initially scheduled to close on April 30 but was extended till May 5.
Last year, 336 out of the 554 schools in the list of education department failed to fill up even a single seat under the 25 per cent quota, citing reasons such as not receiving any applications from EWS students and non-availability of EWS students in their neighbourhood.
However, the doubled number of applications tells a different story, say experts.
This year, a total of 8,243 seats in 312 schools in the city were chosen for online admissions for quota seats. According to last year’s figures given by the three zones of the state’s education department, only 3,308 students were admitted under the RTE quota (25 per cent) against the 12,818 seats available in 554 schools (including unaided minority schools). This year, unaided minority schools were removed from the list as they are exempted from following the RTE quota clause.
“We witnessed a surge in the number of applications and therefore decided to extend the date. Also, there were applicants who were yet to submit verified hard copies of their income or caste certificates. The extended deadline helped them,” said Sambhavi Jogi, a deputy education officer at the BMC in charge of online admissions.
Starting this year, students were required to submit hard copies of the income/caste certificates, which will be verified by the authorities on May 6-7, after which their applications will be processed further.
There were 26 guidance centres to help parents fill up the forms online. However, around 60 per cent of applicants submitted their forms on their own. “At least 60 per cent of the applications were submitted from external locations, and not from our notified guidance centres. Initially, a lot of parents visited the centres to inquire about the process. However, most of the applications were received externally,” Jogi said.
“This year, we have successfully covered over 75 per cent of the allocated seats,” he said.