Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Despite RTE, the poor are turned away

Despite RTE, the poor are turned away

Thursday, Jul 19, 2012, 9:30 IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Parents with an annual income of less than Rs1 lakh are lodging complaints with the education department against schools refusing to admit their wards in the 25% quota.
Even after the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, access to education has not become any easier for students from the weaker sections of the society.
Parents with an annual income of less than Rs1 lakh are lodging complaints with the education department against schools refusing to admit their wards in the 25% quota.
Abdul Karim Ansari, a parent and a tailor from Agripada, had lodged a complaint with the education department, school education minister Rajendra Darda and additional secretary JS Saharia on July 4.

The complaint, lodged with the help of National Students Union of India (NSUI), states that St Joseph School, which falls within one kilometre of Ansari’s residence, rejected his application of admission. Ansari, whose annual income is Rs80,000 per annum, says that the school turned him away when he approached for his four-year-old daughter, Aasna’s admission in the junior KG under the 25% reservation quota.
“The school told me that the preschool section was private and not aided by the government. Hence they could not take my daughter in. I want admission in this school as it is only two minutes away from my residence,” Ansari said.
When contacted, the school authorities told DNA that they have not implemented the 25% quota in the preschool section as it unaided.  A school authority said, “Our school is minority aided only from class 1 and hence we do not have 25% reservation for students of the junior and senior KG.”
However, according to officials in the education department, RTE is applicable at entry levels in the schools, even if those sections are unaided. A senior education official from the education department, south zone, said, “If the junior and senior KG section of a school is unaided, but class 1 onwards the school is aided, the school will have to implement 25% quota at the entry level itself. After all, these students will pass onto class 1, which is aided.”
Another parent, Salim Shaikh, has complained his son Sohail Shaikh did not get admission for class 7 in any school in his neighbourhood in Bandra (East).
“For the last five years, he has been travelling for more than an hour to school every day. Even the education department had given us a letter asking schools to admit my ward on humanitarian grounds, but the schools only turned us away,” he said.

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