School Education and Sports Minister Rajendra Darda told the Legislative Council Monday almost 50 per cent of seats meant for economically weak students under RTE Act had been filled in schools in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
Members,however,disputed the claim. Darda said 9,648 of the 20,491 seats reserved for the low-income group were filled in academic year 2013-14. RTE Act states these seats be reserved at the entry point of school,whether it is pre-primary or class I. The minister only replied to our queries,the matter was not discussed in the Council. I am not satisfied with his replies. The numbers provided by the minister are misleading as I believe many private schools are flouting RTE norms, said Ramnath Mote,who represents the teachers constituency.
Darda said it was not true schools were flouting the 25 per cent reservation norm. He said the school education department had not come across a single case where low- income group students were charged fees and donations.
We were assured the state government will create a special cell to implement RTE norms by the end of this year, said Vinod Tawde,Leader of Opposition in the Council.
Sources said of the around 7,600 RTE quota seats in Pune schools,only 3,991 had been filled. Activists said the government was not making efforts to create aware about free education under RTE.
We come across so many cases of schools flouting RTE norms. Parents often approach us with complaints. We have forwarded these complaints to the school education department. The numbers released by the department are misleading. Let the education department come out with a white paper giving names of schools where these 9,648 seats have been filled, said Jayant Jain,president of Forum for Fairness in Education.