Deferring its decision to recommend de-recognition of those schools which refused admissions to Right to Education (RTE) students, the education department has now given them a second chance to admit students.
At least four schools in Mumbai have come under the scanner for not admitting RTE students. Among the errant schools are Jankidevi Public School, Andheri, Vile Parle Mahila Sangh and Fidai Diamond Jubilee School, Andheri.
On Monday, BD Phadtare, deputy director of education, instructed various zonal education inspectors to ensure that the schools under their jurisdiction admit students allocated to them in the RTE online admission process conducted between April and September.
The decision was taken at a meeting on the same day with parents of 15 students from the economically weaker sections. The parents had approached Phadtare complaining that schools were turning them away despite their wards being allotted seats in the schools.
“I have asked education inspectors to coordinate with the schools and visit them to ensure that they admit RTE students,” said Phadtare. “If schools do not cooperate with them, we will be forced to take action prescribed under the RTE Act.”
The RTE Act says schools flouting the rule will face de-recognition. “We were going to recommend the state government to cancel recognition of at least four errant schools brought to our notice,” he said. “But we decided to give them one last chance before taking the step.”
He added that faced with the threat of de-recognition, many schools have committed to the department that they would admit students after they re-open after Diwali vacation.
“We had turned away students, who were living more than 3 kms away from the school,” said Sudha Nair, principal of Vile Parle Mahila Sangh School. “But education officials have now informed us that cannot deny admission on this ground so we will look into admissions again after Diwali break.”
Jankidevi Public School in Andheri (West) said it cannot admit four nursery students allotted to them because they do not match the eligibility criteria. “As per our school’s policy, children have to be aged two-and-a-half or above by June 2014 to be eligible for admission to nursery in 2014-15,” said Madhu Khetan, the principal.
Mahrukh Laher, principal Fidai Bagh Diamond Jubilee School, Andheri refused to comment. “We are in talks with the department,” she said.