Of 1,618 allotments, less than 200 students accepted admission under the Right to Education (RTE) quota in the second round that ended on Saturday. Surprised by the low numbers, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) extended the deadline for admissions up to Tuesday evening.
Under the RTE Act, 2009, it is binding on unaided and non-minority schools to reserve 25% seats for students from economically and socially weaker sections. The students are offered free education from entry-level to Class 8 and the schools are reimbursed by the state government.
The lottery for 2,192 seats available in 318 schools was conducted on July 4. The turn-out was slightly better in the first round conducted in June in which 2,050 students secured admissions.
“Students might have taken admissions elsewhere or they did not get the school of their choice,” said a senior official from the BMC.
Educators and social workers blamed the schools for rejecting students.
A few students were rejected for submitting fake income certificates. Schools refused to admit those who produced the original documents later on.
“The parents were misled by private agents who gave them fake certificates. The case is being investigated by the police. In the meanwhile, education officials told schools to admit students who submit their original documents later on but schools continue to reject them,” said Sudhir Paranjape, a member of the Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti, a non-government organisation that helps parents with admissions.
Some schools did not even allow parents to enter the premises to secure admission, added Paranjape. “Two to three schools in Mumbai that were allotted students turned their parents away at the gate claiming that they did not have seats,” said Paranjape.
The BMC issued show-cause notices to four such schools last month.