This year, the admission process for 25 per cent seats under the Right to Education (RTE) Act will begin in December instead of March, said Principal Secretary, State School Education and Sports Department, Nand Kumar, who visited The Indian Express office for an Idea Exchange session on Monday.
He added, “In the coming academic year, the process will be implemented in better manner”. Admitting that admission under RTE remains one of the biggest challenges for the state education department, he said a new strategy is being devised for its seamless implementation.
“Yes, there is a problem with the 25 per cent admissions under RTE and it should not have gone on for so many years. We are trying to bring a big social change through legislation. Now, we are revamping our computerised admission process and have identified two basic issues. Schools often deny admissions, saying the income certificate is false or the neighbourhood criteria doesn’t fit. So, we are removing the neighbourhood clause… instead, parents will have to bear the transport charges. Also, the income certificate will be displayed on the website so there is no issue over it,” added Kumar.
Watch what else is in the news
He said that another feature, to be added to the online system, would track whether the child was indeed granted admission by the school after the allotment.
Meanwhile, one of the biggest issues under discussion is the lack of regulation over pre-schools. A recent example is the closure of Tree House playschools and the refusal by both the education department and police to intervene in the matter.
As both authorities claimed they had no jurisdiction in the issue, the incident has brought to light the complete lack of regulation in pre-school education.
Saying there was currently no law to govern pre-schools, Kumar said, “If there is no law, there cannot be any regulation.”
However, he was quick to add that this has been a point of discussion for many years and recently, a national-level seminar was held on the issue.
“The Himachal Pradesh government is coming up with regulations and they would like to regulate education in the age group of 3-6 years. The 0-6 age group actually comes under the Women and Child Development (WCD) department, but the age groups beyond 6 years is with us. However, if we think of education, then we are the department concerned and so the government is saying, ‘why don’t we do it,” he said.
Kumar added, “Also, since we decided to compete on an international level in terms of quality, if we compare with the top 20 countries, then they have full fledged pre-primary education. So, now… 100 per cent children should have pre-primary education and very soon, a policy decision will be taken on this”