IT HAS just been four days since the RTE admission process started in the city and as many as 19,801 applications have been filed by parents in Pune district, making it the highest number of applications received in the state.
Of these 11,000-odd applications are unconfirmed (incomplete online applications) but 8,775 applications have been confirmed.
Dinkar Temkar, deputy director of primary education, said there are about 15,000-odd RTE seats in Pune district across 781 schools that have registered for the process. “Pune district has highest number of applications and the number could rise as the forms are open till April 25. The second-highest applications are from Mumbai where 12,852 applications were received of which 6,217 were finally confirmed,” he said.
Incidentally, Mumbai is the first district in the state where the first draw of lottery seats would take place on April 20. However, ironically, even as most districts are nearly halfway through their RTE process, several districts in the state like Solapur, Buldhana, Hingoli, Jalna, Washim, Latur and so on have not even started taking application of students. What has raised eyebrows is that some districts have received only single or double-digit applications raising doubts if awareness efforts were not taken about RTE application deadline and procedure in these districts. In Satara, where registration process began on same day as Pune, 21 applications were confirmed even though 210 schools have seats.
Dhule has 29 applications for 79 schools so far while in Ahmednagar, for the 301 schools only 9 applications have been confirmed. However, state officials deny any neglect. “We had done adequate publicity of the dates and help centres have been set up in each of these districts. Yes the response is very little but perhaps it is because many days are remaining for the process completion. Many parents usually rush at the last minute,” said Temkar.
Meanwhile, of the 781 schools in Pune that have registered for the RTE admission process, only one school within PMC limits and four schools in the entire district have resisted the process by refusing to take RTE admissions this year.
The only school in Pune city, which refused to give 25 per cent quota admissions to economically-weaker students under the RTE act, is Bhawani Peth’s Vinay High School. Principal Ujjwala Andrews said, “Yes it is true that we have refused to register. We are not fearful of de-recognition threats. In fact, we told the education department that they could go ahead with it. They make us fill forms promising RTE reimbursements and nothing is given. We cannot afford to run the school this way,” she said.
Meanwhile, Vaishali Pandhare, assistant education officer, said that since the school authorities didn’t agree to co-operate, the proposal to de-recognise the school has already been forwarded to the Zilla Parishad education officer.