November 24, 2014 5:22:40 am
In its second year too, the Gujarat Education Department failed to achieve the target of filling 18,300 seats under the 25 per cent reservation in private schools for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and underprivileged reservation under Right to Education (RTE) Act.
This comes despite twice extending deadlines and roping in “eligible” children enrolled at various anganwadi centres under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) after a tie-up was done between ICDS and the state Education Department, over 43 per cent have been filled in various private schools.
Against a total of 18,300 seats reserved in private schools across all municipal corporations and zila panchayats across the state, nearly 8,000 seats have been filled, this year.
Moreover, the status was even worse before this tie-up with the ICDS in August, as only half of this target was achieved by the department. Out of a total 18,300 seats only 4,961 seats were filled. It was after receiving flak for failing to achieve this enrolment target, the Education Department decided to rope in anganwadi centres.
Under the collaboration, all district education officers (DEOs) and district primary education officers (DPEOs) were deputed to conduct surveys in their respective jurisdiction and identify children from the anganwadi centres, including the ones who have left but fall under the beneficiary category and could be enrolled in private schools, under this 25 per cent reservation rule.
With certain alleged irregularities by private schools in admitting children under this reserved category, recently, a PIL was filed in the Gujarat High Court after which a detailed report has been sought from the Education Department on the procedure and status of students admitted in private schools under 25 per cent reservation rule.
It is the second year in continuation when the department has failed to achieve the target since the implementation of this reservation rule on a pilot basis during the academic session 2013-14 with only 5,300 reserved seats in eight municipal corporations. Hardly 1,000 seats were filled out of these reserved seats.
This year, for the academic session 2014-15, the number was increased by 13,000 making it to total 18,300, including all 33 districts across the state. Though the Education Department decided on the number of seats depending upon the population and estimated beneficiaries that varied in each district and municipal corporation, it failed to achieve its target in second year too.
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