Even as 2015 has ended on a sour note with thousands of students denied admissions under Right to Education (RTE) Act, there is some good news in store. Finally the state education department has decided to conduct the second and final round of admissions for the 25 percent quota seats under RTE Act on January 2.
A draw will be held wherein the remaining students on the list will be allotted the schools. Following this, an SMS will be sent to parents about the allotments and the letters regarding the same will be issued. After this, admissions are to be taken within dates specified by the department. Pune and Mumbai are the only two districts in the entire state where Round II admissions are yet to take place.
On January 1, a meeting of senior education officials was held to decide on dates for Round II. “It was decided to take the help of National Informatics Centre for this round. We decided to start the round immediately, so if it is possible we will conduct the second draw on Saturday itself and send SMS to parents earliest by Monday,” said Ramchandra Jadhav, deputy director of education, Pune.
On one hand, while over 4,000 students from both pre-primary and Std I are eligible for Round II admissions, parents and educationists argued that the entire exercise remained futile since by the time admissions would have been granted, barely two months would have remained for the academic year to draw to a close.
According to figures obtained from the education directorate, of the 4,139 applications that had been received, 3,046 students were allotted schools, which means that over 1,100 students were eligible for Round II admissions in Std I. Similarly, as against 6,693 applications received for pre-primary admissions, only 3,275 were given admissions.
Last year, officials from primary education directorate had announced that the Round II of RTE admissions will be conducted by December 15 but later, they went back on their promise. Asked about the delay, Mahavir Mane, director of primary education said, it was because of two reasons.
“In rest of the state, the Round II of RTE admissions were over and in fact, preparations were on for this year’s RTE admissions. However, in Pune, because of the refusals by schools to give allotted admissions and the subsequent offline admissions that took place, there was some discrepancy in online data of first round of admissions. We had decided to conduct second round by December 15 but it got postponed due to winter assembly session. However, now we will start the process and this year’s RTE process will be done in January,” said Mane.
Meanwhile, parents and activists have mixed views towards the process. “If the next round is not completed, schools will be happy since these seats, which are meant for poor students, will go vacant. If schools had 100 seats for RTE admissions, of which they gave only 50 and remaining are to be filled in the second round, the schools preferred the seats to remain vacant. Now, this year too, the schools may not fill up these seats as second standard is not the entry point. When schools don’t admit valid seats at entry point, fighting for leftover seats remains a big challenge,” said Mukund Kirdat, education activist.
For those parents whose children are studying in pre-primary, the second round doesn’t hold much appeal.
“I am not sure if my son will get admission in next round because he had got the earlier allotment but his school had refused to admit him. Now if my son gets admission in next year’s process, at least it would mean I don’t have to pull him out mid-year from the private school where I have admitted him,” said Pintu Shirsat, a resident of Kamana Vasahat, whose three-year-old son Vidnyesh was allotted three schools as options but wasn’t given admission in any of them.