Atikh Rashid : Pune, Mon Jul 23 2012, 15:13 hrs
Education board officials said that parents, even from those from economically weaker sections (EWS), prefer English medium schools over Marathi. Now, with RTE in place, even EWS parents can easily enroll their wards in private English medium schools under the 25 per cent quota, they said.
According to the PMC education board report, submitted a few months ago, English medium schools have surpassed Marathi medium schools in numbers as well as student count. There are 165 Marathi medium schools in the city with 87,955 students and 202 English medium schools with 96,322 students. Of the total 1.92 lakh students in private primary schools, over 50 per cent study in English mediums, while 45 per cent are enrolled in Marathi medium schools.
While most Marathi medium primary private schools are aided, only two English medium schools are aided by the state government. "Though unaided schools have higher fees, RTE has provided a gateway to for EWS parents who don't have pay the entire fee," said Subhash Swami, assistant administrative officer of the school board. The situation is the same across Maharashtra, he added.
"A total of 7,361 seats are reserved in 373 private school under the RTE, of which only over 3,500 have been filled. That's less than 50 per cent RTE admission. The reason is that the parents are preferring only a few popular schools, especially English medium private schools," said Swami.
This year, the 25 per cent reservation under RTE is being implemented for entry level classes (KG or Class 1). From next year, it would be implemented for all classes, which may further affect Marathi medium schools.