Online admissions of students from economically weaker sections to the Right to Education (RTE) seats have been a flop this year, said child rights activists. After dragging its feet in the first admission round, Maharashtra has still not given clearance to start another round and tired of waiting for admissions, students eligible for the quota are moving onto paid seats, they said.
Although it’s been more than two months since the schools opened for the new academic year, only 1,420 students, out of 2, 849 allotted seats, have been admitted in the first round. The number of students admitted has increased only by 16 since July 26, when it stood at 1,404.
Activists blamed the low numbers on schools denying admission to students citing a different entry-level, but many RTE students were forced to take admissions in paid seats in other schools as they could not wait any longer.
“My son was allotted a seat in kindergarten in a private school in Sion in March, but his admission could not get confirmed for months,” said Imraan Shaikh, a parent from Dharavi. “I got tired of waiting and finally enrolled my child in another school, even though I can barely afford it.”
Like Shaikh, many other parents are taking admissions in non-RTE seats, said Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials. “We kept the first round of admissions open till now, but those who were allotted seats are not taking them up anymore,” said a senior official from the BMC.
Despite this, the BMC is unable to conduct further admission rounds. “The state government is not giving clearance for second round till all those who were allotted take admissions,” said Sambhavi Jogi, education officer, BMC. “We have proposed it to them several times. More rounds will help students who have not yet been allotted seats.”
However, Dinkar Temkar, deputy director of primary education said, “First, all the pending admissions of the first round need to be cleared, only then we can permit the next round. We are also waiting for the HC judgement in the ongoing dual-entry case.”