The State Directorate of Education (Primary) has decided not to have a uniform admission schedule for carrying out the second round of admissions under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) 2009.
The move has evoked mixed reactions from experts and activists among others,with a section of them fearing poor monitoring and coordination during admissions in the absence of a common schedule,while others favouring it as an experiment.
Hardly over 30 per cent of the 2.25 lakh beneficiary students belonging to the economically weaker section (EWS) have been admitted in 8,500-odd private schools for the academic year 2013-14 after the first round of admissions under the RTE Act conducted between January 11 and February 28. A large number of seats reserved for EWS students are still lying vacant.
The directorate,which had maintained a common admission schedule for round one,has now left it to the local self-governing bodies to undertake the process of admission as per their own schedule before the deadline of June 30.
We have been informed by higher authorities about not having a common admission schedule for the second round of admission under the RTE Act. Accordingly,we have to ensure admissions of EWS students take place by the stipulated deadline of June end, Deputy Director of Education (Pune Region),Suman Shinde told Newsline on Sunday.
As far as Pune is concerned,the Pune Zilla Parishad is yet to chart its second round admission schedule for the RTE Act,while the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is scheduled to effect it between April 21 and May 8.
Reacting to the matter,Tapas Sutradhar,coordinator with the Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC) that works towards ensuring child rights including RTE Act,said the governments decision not to have a common schedule for the second round of admissions could be seen as an experiment in the field of implementation of the RTE Act.
Youth activist Nilesh Borate,who is associated with the implementation of the RTE Act,however,said the decision would lead to chaos and confusion among stakeholders. Consider the case of Pune,where some schools come under the jurisdiction of PMC and others in the ambit of Zilla Parishad. Wouldnt it be confusing for parents to locate neighborhood schools, he reasoned,fearing poor monitoring and vigourless implementation of the RTE Act at top level due to separate admission processes.
Activist Matin Mujawar from Shikshan Hakka Manch said the government machinery concerned while effecting admission of EWS students should understand the spirit of the RTE Act to ensure proper implementation of the Act either with a common schedule or separate ones.
While the 25 per cent quota for EWS students under the RTE Act involves release of admission forms,carrying out lottery procedure if the number of applicants exceeds the available seats and furnishing an official report to the education department regarding admissions on periodic basis,activists feel a uniform schedule would ensure smooth implementation of all these processes.
Officiating State Director of Education (Primary) Mahaveer Mane said the rationale behind having separate admission schedules at the level of local self-governing bodies was to give them more freedom to carry out admissions as per their convenience. He ruled out fears about poor monitoring due to the decision.