In a step aimed at better implementation of the Right To Education (RTE) Act, the state school education department is considering centralising admissions under the 25% quota instead of leaving it to individual schools to conduct them.
Under the RTE Act (2009), all schools except those run by unaided minority trusts have to keep 25% seats reserved for students from economically weaker sections (EWS). If the new plan is implemented, the government will allot seats to students based on their area of residence.
School education minister Rajendra Darda confirmed the development. “The discussions are at a preliminary stage, but we feel that such a move will be beneficial in many ways,” Darda told Hindustan Times. “After we centralised FYJC admissions a few years ago, the process has become smooth and hassle-free.”
Centralising admissions will reduce the political pressure on schools, said city principals. “We face pressure from all sides during these admissions. Politicians and other influential people try to use their clout to admit candidates they favour,” said Anjana Prakash, principal of Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.
Some feel that the move would lead to more enrolments under the RTE quota. “The government has a bigger database and better machinery to reach out to EWS students unlike schools, which have limited reach,” said Satish Lotlikar, managing trustee, Indian Education Society’s Manik Vidyamandir School, Bandra.
Experts opined that the admissions must be conducted online to ensure transparency. “Though lotteries are held in the presence of PTA members and education officers, schools can manipulate them by putting in multiple entries of favoured candidates. Online admissions will eliminate such loopholes,” said Jayant Jain, president of NGO Forum For Fairness in Education.