The Right to Education (RTE) Act has opened the window of hope for many families, whose first generation of learners would soon enter the portals of educational institutions.
Organisations ensuring RTE compliance in private schools say UP has the potential to benefit 50 lakh children in 8 years. Take for instance Sapna, a mother of two, who has never been to school. Her husband, a labourer too doesn’t recognise alphabets. But her children - one five-year-old and the other over six years - are now enrolled in an English medium private school in Vikas Nagar.
“Poverty has been the biggest hurdle for us. Our previous generations couldn’t afford to educate children. But we are the fortunate ones,” she says. Sapna’s sons have been given admission under the Right to Education Act that allows 25% reservation for underprivileged children in private schools.
Ram Singh Yadav, a driver, has got his son enrolled in Class 1 in a renowned school in Indira Nagar. Till now, his son was studying in a nearby small school. He says, “Good schools are always a dream for those parents who can’t afford high fees. But we are glad that even our children would get access to quality education.”
Around 5,000 applications for admissions under RTE were received in the last four months, of which 1,300 were approved across 20 districts in over 250 private schools. From April to June, around 300 underprivileged children got enrolled in private schools in Lucknow alone.
The organisations ensuring RTE compliance in private schools say that UP has the potential to benefit 50 lakh children in the next eight years. However, till 2014-15, the report card looked extremely bleak with only a few admissions done in the last four years.
“Even if the figure is not too high as compared to the potential, it is a significant improvement by 25 times over last year’s figure of 54 overall. It is expected to improve further by July-end. What is more encouraging is the fact that the government’s machinery has been set in motion and an RTE implementation system has been set up after rigorous capacity-building exercises with the government bodies,” says Samina Bano, an RTE crusader in the state.