The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is being felt in the coming academic year with the number of RTE seats in Maharashtra having dropped by at least 20 per cent. On Thursday, the first round of lottery was conducted for the 25 per cent reserved seats under RTE for economically weaker sections, under which 67,459 students were allotted admissions out of the 96,000 available seats in the state.
While one of the reasons for the drop in RTE seats is the refusal of several schools to take part in the process after the state government failed to pay reimbursements due to them, Dinkar Temkar, director, State Council of Education, Research and Training, who heads the RTE admission process, said the pandemic is responsible for this state of affairs.
“The seats are calculated on the basis of admission capacity of the school in the previous academic year. Due to the pandemic, many students returned with their parents to their home states. Not being able to pay fees or access to means for online education might have kept students away from joining or continuing school. So this year, we have fewer total available seats,” he said.
Meanwhile, as many as 42,535 students are on the waiting list after the draw of lottery on Thursday. Temkar said that the process of RTE seat allotment for Pune region is yet to be done as data is still being compiled. Pune has at least 14,000 seats for which more than 50,000 applications have been recieved.
Temkar said the process of sending allotment SMS to parents has started. Parents can check allotments through their login forms on the RTE admissions website.