Apart from a uniform age limit, there may also be a two-layered entry system for admission to schools in the state this year under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. These are a few of the key changes proposed to make the online admission process under RTE smoother, after the goof-ups last year.
School education commissioner S Chokhalingam has put forth a number of proposals to education minister Vinod Tawde, suggesting changes in the current procedure.
According to the RTE Act, 2009, schools have to admit 25% students from the economically backward sections at their entry level, which could either be nursery or Class 1. Last year, there was a lot of confusion over this rule, as schools were not able to adjust the quota.
However, this year, the two-layered entry system will allow schools to divide the 25% mandatory quota of RTE students between nursery and Class 1.
“For some schools, the rule meant they had to admit more students than their capacity at the nursery level. According to the new system, schools will have to admit some RTE students in nursery and some in Class 1,” said Chokhalingam.
Another proposal is setting a uniform age limit for admissions. Currently, every school has a different age criteria for admissions at the entry-level.
While some only admit children above three years, other schools admit those above two-and-half years.
“During admissions last year, schools turned away students who did not fulfil their age criteria, despite the children being allotted seats in the online process. If accepted, a uniform age limit will be set across all schools covered under the RTE Act,” he said. “The age limit will be fixed by experts in the field,” Chokhalingam said.
Experts, meanwhile, said these changes will increase the number of students securing admission through the quota.
“Age and intake capacity were the two major grounds for schools turning away students last year,” said K Narayan, a member of the Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti, which works for improving the quality of school education.
Narayan added closer checks on the grounds on which schools reject applications were also needed. “The government has given the responsibility of verifying documents to the schools but they are misusing this to reject candidates,” he said.