Confusion anD complaints marked the first day of the online admission process for the 25 per cent seats reserved for school students from economically weaker sections of society, under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, on Saturday.
Till today afternoon, no registration link was visible on http://www.student.maharashtra.gov.in, the website which, according to the state education department, was supposed to be used to fill online admission forms.
Instead, the registration link was working on isrte25admission.maharashtra.gov.in, another government website, indicating a clear miscommunication by the education department.
“The biggest error was declaring the wrong website, because of which thousands of people will not be able to fill the forms, as not everyone is aware of the old website. Besides that, many other errors were observed while filling forms. In the morning, a few parents who tried filling forms told us that in the options on religion and category, there is no option of Scheduled Caste at all…,” said Vivek Bansode, district head of Republican Vidyarthi Sena.
Parents also had other complaints about the form.
“The column on annual income was not always visible… that’s why, in many forms, the parents’ annual income has been saved as Rs 0. All these problems with the online forms will cost parents dearly,” said Vivek Bansode, district head of Republican Vidyarthi Sena.
Another activist, Mukund Kirdat from Aam Aadmi Party, has written to the state education department about the website mix-up. “Many parents told us that they were unable to type in Marathi… in case of children of widows, the department has asked for income certificate of fathers. It has been made mandatory to mention religion. There is an option for ‘don’t know mother’s name’ but there is no option for ‘don’t know father’s name’. Also, in case of children of divorced women, they have taken into consideration that those students may not have local address proof as many would be living in their mother’s maternal home, but what about children of separated but not officially divorced mothers? That number is far greater, but the department has not paid any attention to it. It looks like the education department itself needs some teaching,” he said.
Sharad Gosavi, joint director of education (primary), admitted that the admission process had faced problems, but claimed that the link would be made available on the website.
“Parents just have to refresh the page and the link will appear on the site… that’s what I have been told by our team. As far as the SC option is concerned, it is showing now. There might have been some technical error… in case of separated but not divorced mothers, according to the government resolution issued by the department, they are not covered under it, so we have to follow rules. Maybe by next year, there will be some provision for them as well,” he said.