July 13, 2013 4:07:40 am
The Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) has written to all education officials in the state against the Primary Education directors comments on Wednesday regarding conversion of seats reserved for students belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) into general seats if EWS students are not found till July 31.
Taking Newslines July 11 report as evidence,the KKPKP has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan,all education ministers,government secretaries for education and various other officials protesting against the Primary Education director Mahavir Manes claims that the schools only have to wait till July 31 to get EWS students. In case any school is incapable of finding such students,then these seats could be opened for general category. He also claimed in the article the RTE provisions only ask the schools to put in efforts to find EWS students but there is no provision to keep the seats vacant throughout the year. We would like to bring to your attention that any such permission/ direction/ circular/ order would be in clear breach of various provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act,2009 as well as various rules notified under it by the state government, said the letter.
Seats meant for the children from disadvantaged group and weaker section shall not be diverted to general candidates (Rule 3.3). Therefore,allowing schools to fill up 25 per cent quota with students from the general category,at any time during the academic year,would defeat the very purpose of the RTE Act to the prejudice of thousands of children from disadvantaged and weaker sections throughout the state. Further,the argument that schools have no idea how to get EWS students to fill up quota seats is far-fetched,misguided and in parts,a blatant lie. The obligation to identify and ensure admission of children belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections within their extended neighbourhood is imposed on the schools themselves (Rule 3 of the Admission Rules,2013), says Surekha Gade,member,KKPKP.
If the schools find it difficult to fill the seats,the Maharashtra Education Department would have to set up a centralised system for ensuring enrollment. To avoid the possibility of such news reports being used by schools to admit general category students to the prejudice of thousands of children from disadvantaged groups and weaker sections,we implore you to clarify that children can be admitted under the 25 per cent quota seats till the end of the academic year and that such seats shall remain vacant in the absence of sufficient applications. However,if the department stands by the contents of the said news reports,we request you to inform us regarding the same by July 17,so that we can take appropriate action , added Gade in the letter.
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