Every second seat under the Right to Education (RTE) quota – the 25 per cent reservation meant for students from economically poor backgrounds – has remained vacant this year, according to data from the state Education department.
The vacancies remain despite the fact that the state had received three times the number of applications from parents for the 1.15 lakh seats reserved for RTE. While seats were allotted to students, only 54,303 admissions were confirmed as many parents failed to confirm the seats.
As a last resort, the state Education department has now extended the admission deadline to September 15, asking parents to come forward and confirm admissions.
Experts have pointed out several reasons for failure to confirm admissions, including closure of schools, the lockdown and online classes, migration of workers to hometowns and more.
“It is clear that this year, owing to the pandemic, many families returned to their hometowns, which led to this situation. Schools have been given the authority to check documents and many private schools harass parents for documents and seek fees for extra curriculars. Since right now, many parents have no source of income, they are not very interested in admissions. The only solutiom is to ask primary and block education officers to take the responsibility of confirming these admissions, or else these children face the risk of losing their school admissions,” said Mukund Kirdat, education activist and AAP member.
He pointed out that last year, 76, 927 RTE admissions were confirmed in the state.
In Mumbai, of 5,673 available seats, only 1,684 admissions have been confirmed this year while in Pune, of 16,949 available seats, 9,671 admissions have been confirmed. Last year, the number of confirmed admissions stood at 2,490 (Mumbai) and 13,332 (Pune).
Meanwhile, the state Education department has asked parents not to rely merely on SMS messages but also check the RTE portal through their individual login for allotments.
Parents need not go to schools for confirming admissions, but can submit the details online through the requisite procedure.
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