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Monday, July 16, 2018

RTE logjam: Parents say schools still refusing admissions, deadline extended

Fed up of the rejections and faced with the prospect of losing the seats allotted to their children, scores of parents thronged offices of the education department in Pune.

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune | Updated: April 11, 2018 9:19:42 am
The newest deadline for RTE admissions is April 13. (Express Photo/Subham Dutta/File)

On the last day of the ‘extended deadline’ to confirm admissions for the 25 per cent seats in the economically weaker sections (EWS) quota, under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, several parents complained that they were still being denied seats by private schools. Fed up of the rejections and faced with the prospect of losing the seats allotted to their children, scores of parents thronged offices of the education department in Pune. Meanwhile, the department once again announced an extension in the deadline for RTE admissions, with the newest deadline set for April 13.

Earlier, the education department had warned parents that if they didn’t confirm the admissions of their students by April 10, they could lose the seat and be denied further admission.

Parents of students seeking RTE admissions, however, said many city schools were still turning them away. Several private schools had joined hands to file a case in the Bombay High Court against the education department, claiming they had not been paid the reimbursement for previous years and hence would not grant fresh admissions till the dues were cleared.

On Monday, parents whose children had been allotted admissions at the Phoenix World School in Hadapsar approached the Zilla Parishad education officers, complaining that the school was refusing admissions. The parents claimed that the school was citing the court case as the reason for refusal.

School principal Nivedita Madkikar admitted that the school has moved court and was awaiting its final order. “However, we have not denied admissions. Eight allotments were given to us, five parents approached us, and we have decided to give three admissions. The decision was taken … as we were in the process of checking their paperwork. The documentation submitted by two parents were not satisfactory and even the state education department has asked us to verify the documents,” she said.

Officials of the education department admitted that many parents had come forward with complaints about being refused admissions.

“Today, many parents came to meet us, a large majority of them were those allotted seats at Priya Darshini School, which is also a party to the court case. The reimbursement amount has already been disbursed by the department and there are no pending dues until 2016-2017. But many city schools are still not granting admissions… we have asked senior officials to take some concrete decision in this regard. Since the entire RTE admission process can’t be delayed for too long, may be, for only for those schools which are in court, we could freeze the allotted admissions… consider those seats as filled and conduct allotments for other seats. The same students will be given a chance to take admission to those seats once the issue is resolved. But this is just a suggestion and we are waiting for the final decision,” said Sharad Gosavi, deputy director of education, primary, Maharashtra.

So far, 60 per cent of the total allotments have been confirmed, said Gosavi.

Despite the stand-off between schools and the government, Pune has seen the highest number of confirmed admissions, while the admission number has been lower than expected in Mumbai.

“It’s true that because of Mumbai region, we have decided to extend the deadline, as there has been some delay in the disbursement of reimbursements to schools there. We are hoping that once that’s done, the number of admissions will rise,” said Gosavi.

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