"Everybody is talking about implementing RTE for the benefit of the students, but with so many posts lying vacant in the Mumbai education department, how are the officials planning to tackle the problem," said Chetan Pednekar, vice-president of Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS).
"The officials are supposed to conduct regular inspections of schools and also ensure that schools aren't defaulting in implementation of the Act. But with the strength of officials much lower than required, there's a possibility that RTE is not being implemented well in the city," a shocked Pednekar said.
According to the data provided under the RTI, a total 83 posts are vacant in the north, west, south zone education office as well as the office of deputy director of education. These officers are from different grades and branches in Mumbai.
When TOI contacted the deputy director of education, he stated that some of the vacant posts have been filled at present. "Even the post of a clerk is filled by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) and applicants have to give an exam and pass, following which they are placed in different departments. As and when we are informed that a particular post is empty, we immediately inform the authority to sanction more officers," said N B Chavan, deputy director of school education. He also added that with officers at senior levels being transferred to education departments across the state, it becomes difficult to fill up the posts immediately. "But this has never affected our work and we ensure that the responsibility is shared aptly so that there are no loopholes," added Chavan.