Despite implementation of Right to Education Act-2009, Uttar Pradesh presents a dismal picture in admitting poor students in private schools.
Till now, only 12 of the 75 districts of the state have admitted poor students in private schools.
Under the RTE Act — which promises free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 years — all private schools have to reserve 25 per cent of seats for the poor.
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While the Uttar Pradesh government has warned government primary schools to increase seats for poor students, else these will be shut, private schools have been served warning of de-recognition.
In the last academic session, only 54 students were admitted in private schools under RTE Act. Four among them were in Lucknow, two in Meerut and the rest from across the state.
“We understand that UP’s performance is not satisfactory. We have instructed the Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) to cancel the recognition of private schools which do not adhere to the instructions. But CBSE is doling out recognition to schools like anything… this has devastated the whole educational atmosphere in the state,” State Basic Education Minister Ram Govind Choudhary told The Indian Express.
“We have issued instructions to government primary schools as well to increase nominations, else these will be closed,” he added while claiming that admission dates have been pre-poned from April to induct more students.
According to education department records till May 13, 863 poor students have been admitted in private schools with Kanpur topping the list with 336, Lucknow with 282 and Faizabad with 57.
After reports that only 54 poor students have been admitted in private schools last year, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had organised a function on January 12, roping in an organisation called Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation.
“We have held several meetings with the chief minister, but a government order is safeguarding private schools, which are turning away students,” said an official of Samina Bano – another organisation roped in for the cause.
The government order issued in 2011 states that private schools are liable to admit poor students only if the government primary school — within one kilometre vicinity of the neighbourhood — has no seats left to admit students.
Based on this, a leading private chain of schools in Lucknow has moved court against the government’s order of private schools having to admit poor children compulsorily. The matter is pending in court.
“We cannot change this order, as it was issued as per RTE guidelines. We are working hard so that private schools open their gates for poor children,” Choudhary said.
The Uttar Pradesh State Child Rights Protection Commission too has issued notices to district magistrates, BSA and district inspector of schools to ensure that poor children get admission in private schools.
“We are getting several complaints and have issued instructions to all districts. We have even served notices to some schools recently but none have replied,” said UPSCRPC official Nahid Lari Khan.