The Education Department has decided to close the first round of admissions for Right to Education (RTE) seats and start the second round, which will take place on April 18-19. This time, applications of children living within 3 km of a school will be considered.
Close to 70 per cent of applicants have been allotted admissions in the first round that saw the deadline for confirming admissions extended several times, mainly because schools refused admissions over a reimbursement row. About 41 schools have filed a case in court. With the admission process paralysed because of a few schools, the education department has decided to “freeze” admissions at these schools and start the next round. In Pune district alone, more than 30,000 students are waiting for seat allotments.
Online RTE admissions started on February 10. Three extensions were given for filing applications, which finally ended on March 11. Pune district, which has 16,422 seats in 983 private and public schools, saw a whopping 42,108 applications, a ratio of nearly four aspirants for an RTE seat. On March 12, the first draw of lots took place when 10,228 students were allotted seats in schools located within 1 km of an applicant’s home.
“On April 16, education officials were told to free up seats where students have not taken admission, so the seats can be allotted to other students in the coming rounds. We had announced that if students are allotted seats and do not take admission, then they will be removed from the process and not given any more allotments. But for students allotted seats in the 41 schools in question, it’s not their fault if their admissions are not confirmed. So, the decision to freeze these seats… and proceed to the next round,” said Sharad Gosavi, deputy director of education (primary), Maharashtra.
Parents would be given nearly three weeks, April 20 to May 10, to confirm seat allotments.