More than 3,000 seats reserved under the Right to Education (RTE) for children from economically weak families in unaided, non-minority schools in the city will have to be kept vacant throughout the year, as they did not find any takers in the first round of online admissions this year, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The BMC conducted the lottery for the first round on Wednesday. The computerised lottery allocated seats to eligible students in 185 schools where they the number of applications exceeded the number of seats available. The rest of the 68 schools received zero applications.
However, as only 6,409 students had applied for 9,664 available seats, the leftover seats, including those in schools that did not receive any application, will have to be kept open for RTE students throughout the year.
“Schools cannot admit regular students to the unfilled RTE seats,” said Nisaar Khan, senior BMC official. “They will have to keep these seats vacant so that in case children from economically weaker sections approach them anytime during the year, admissions will be granted to them at least at entry levels.”
Officials said the numbers of applications were fewer in Mumbai compared to smaller cities. “Although the applications in Mumbai crossed the 6,000 mark for the first time, more than 9,000 applications were received in Pune within two days,” said Dinkar Temkar, education officer, BMC’s primary education department.
Hemangi Worlikar, head of the BMC education committee, said there at least 25,000 to 30,000 applications should have been received in the city. “Looking at the population of families living below poverty line in the city, we should get at least 25,000 applications every year,” said Worlikar. “There is still not enough awareness about this provision among parents from the weaker sections in the city,” said Worlikar.
To ensure there are more applications next year, the BMC plans to involve local corporators in to create awareness about RTE seats. “The BMC has 227 corporators. Several parents approach them for admissions. So, they can inform eligible parents about the RTE quota and guide them in applying online,” said Worlikar.