RTE admissions over, more than 6,000 seats lie vacant in Mumbai
Schools are upset with the development as these seats will remain vacant for the academic year 2017-18. The Maharashtra government has barred schools from admitting non-RTE students for these seats.mumbai Updated: May 02, 2017 00:11 IST
The fifth round for admissions to Right to Education (RTE) seats, reserved for poor students, concluded in Mumbai on Saturday. Even though around 9,400 applicants [the highest in four years] took part in the process this year, only 2,800 confirmed admissions.
The RTE Act, 2009 and its rules stipulate that unaided, non-minority private schools set aside 25% of their seats for students from families earning less than one lakh annually, and those belonging to socially disadvantaged groups. These students are taught free of cost from Classes 1 to 8, and the government reimburses the school later.
But with few students confirming admission, there are close to 5,000 seats leftover at the entry-level in 334 private schools in Mumbai, which participated in the online admission process carried out by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Adding to the woes of the schools’ management, these seats will remain vacant for the academic year 2017-18 as Maharashtra government has barred schools from admitting non-RTE students for these seats. Schools are upset at losing revenue as the state government will not reimburse them for the vacant seats. “These seats are piling on every year and eating into our revenue,” said Amol Dhamdhere, vice-president of the Indian Education Society (IES) schools and director of Sanjeevani International School in Mulund. “The department should find a way to increase response for the RTE quota,” he added.
BMC education officials said that most families target seats in popular city schools and do not accept admission in other schools. “A few popular schools received hundreds of applications while 34 schools did not have any takers,” said Nisaar Khan, education inspector of BMC. “Students don’t report for admission if they don’t get a school of their choice,” he added.
The official also pointed out that the number of admissions has been increasing gradually as the admission process got streamlined. In 2014-15, 8,000 seats were available but only 1,069 students were admitted. In 2016-16, the number of admissions grew to 1,688 in and 2,506 in 2016-17 after the Bombay high court ordered BMC and schools to publicise the free seats aggressively.
However, activists said that there are many students eligible for the RTE quota who could not secure a seat as they did not fill documents properly or were denied admissions. “We want the department to probe into cases where applicants were denied admissions despite being allotted seats and introduce help centres to guide parents in filling forms properly,” said K Narayan, member of NGO Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti.