Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vacant seats under RTE haunt Navi Mumbai schools

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 06:00 IST | Place: Panvel | Agency: DNA
The admission procedures have already started in many city schools, with some schools already closing the selling of admission forms.
But, schools which come under the RTE Act and have to reserve 25% seats for economically weaker students, are in a quandary as last year there was very poor response from parents approaching for admission under this category. More than 80% reserved seats for the economically weaker students went vacant last year in schools across Navi Mumbai, including Panvel.
According to the education department of Navi Mumbai Municipal Commissioner, of the total 3,340 seats available under the category, only 424 seats were filled for the academic year 2013-14. In fact, there were some schools which did not receive a single application.
"Last year, we did not receive a single application under the RTE and had to keep 25% seats vacant even as the session started," said a school principal. There are 145 schools in NMMC jurisdiction where 25% seats were available last year for economically weaker students.
As per the RTE Act 2009, every child in the age group of 6-14 has the right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school, till the completion of elementary education. Private schools will have to take 25% of their class strength from the weaker section and the disadvantaged group of the society through a random selection process.
The government will fund education of these children. No seats in this quota can be left vacant. These children will be treated on par with all other students and subsidised by the state at the rate of average per learner costs in the government schools (unless the per learner costs in the private school are lower).
In Panvel taluka, the situation is almost similar — around 60% seats went vacant. There were 51 schools where 1,143 seats were available. In the primary section, there are 29 schools and the total number of seats available are 630. But only 268 seats were filled, while remaining 344 seats went vacant. In the senior section, 366 seats were filled of the available 513.
Anuj Kumar Pandey, secretary of the All India Federation of of PTA, says that lack of awareness resulted in poor response. "All the schools were supposed to advertise in daily newspapers about the availability of seats under the RTE quota, but none of the schools follow this," said Pandey, adding how a common person may get to know about the seats availability in a particular schools and what are the procedures.
A majority of schools refused to comment, however, a few of them assured that they would keep the seat reserved under the act.
Total no of schools:
Seats available under RTE Act: 3,340
Seats filled: 424 seats (academic year 2013-14)
Panvel taluka
Total no of schools: 51
Seats available under RTE Act: 1,143
Seats filled: 634

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