Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quota chaos in schools over RTE demands

Quota chaos in schools over RTE demands

Shreya Bhandary, TNN Apr 25, 2013, 03.22AM IST
MUMBAI: A case that came up for hearing at the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has once again exposed the confusion among the stakeholders—schools, parents, as well as government officials—regarding the implementation of some clauses of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
The case was about 6-year-old twins denied admission to Class I under the 25% reservation clause by 17 prominent schools. Frustrated, the parents of the twins took the matter to the child rights panel. "The parents want admission in Class I under the reservation clause, but the latest circular by the education department clearly states that this option has to be made available at the entry level, which in our case is nursery," said a representative of DAV Public School, Nerul.
Many schools have raised concern over the confusion, especially after the panel said that schools are bound to leave 25% seats available at all levels from entry to Class VIII. "Once we have admitted students to capacity in Class I, and since we are not supposed to fail any student, how can we make seats available in any higher class?" said the principal of a CBSE school in Kharghar.
The education department has conducted workshops for school principals across the Mumbai division to clear doubts. "The education department has made it clear that the reservation clause is applicable only at the entry level. Even those schools that get aid from the government only after Class V are bound to reserve seats for students from economically and socially backward sections of the society at the entry level in their respective schools," said Fr Francis Swamy, principal, Holy Family High School, Andheri (East). He added that the Archdiocesan Board of Education has conducted various sessions for its member schools to help understand the various RTE clauses.
But schools are unhappy with the explanation. "Our school gets aid from the government from Class V onwards and we have been given clear instructions from the education department that students' fees will be reimbursed only after Class V. Who will bear the education fees of the children admitted under the reservation clause till Class IV?" said the principal of a state board school in Bandra.

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