A non-government organisation (NGO), Forum for Fairness in Education, served a legal notice to the state demanding the state cancel all recently held pre-primary admissions and implement the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) , 2009, in totality.
The NGO is planning to file a public interest litigation if the state does not reply to the notice in the next 15 days.
The NGO said private institutes in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) were flouting the norms and guidelines of the RTE Act.
“Over 1,200 private institutions functioning across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai are not following RTE in totality.
The Centre announced the RTE Act in 2009, but the state government implemented only selected clauses of the act in 2010,” said Jayant Jain, president, Forum for Fairness in Education.
According to the act, children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood should be provided free and compulsory elementary education and should form at least 25% of the class.
At the same time, section 13, sub-section (1) of the Act says no school or person shall, while admitting a child, collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his or her parents or guardian to any screening procedure.
“It appears there is a nexus between the government and the private school management, which is why the government is deliberately delaying complete implementation of the Act,” Jain added.
Sharing the same views, Sunil Mhatre Parent from Kurla said, “not afford a significant drop in high-value customers. On one hand, the state government is promoting the act and on other they are not letting the benefits reach people by restricting its implementation.”
Sunil Chavan, deputy director of Education, Maharashtra state government, said, “If a school or institution is not following the RTE Act, then we will take action by cancelling their licence.”