With the Bombay high court (HC) ordering a status quo on admissions to Right to Education (RTE) seats, schools will now have to admit students to Class 1 and kindergarten again, the Maharashtra government has said. This means the schools will have to admit students to pre-primary and bear the expenses for the same, since the issue of reimbursements to pre-primary is sub-judice.
Principal secretary of the education department, Nand Kumar, told Hindustan Times on Saturday that the state school education department is planning to complete admissions to 25% reserved RTE seats for Class 1 and kindergarten over the next four weeks.
“Now our January 21 notification will be effective, as the HC stayed the April 30 one,” said Nand Kumar. “So schools will once again have to follow a two-layer entry system for admissions into pre-primary sections, as stipulated in that resolution.”
The April 30 government resolution (GR), which exempted schools from admitting RTE students to pre-primary, was stayed by the HC on May 7. A division bench of justice Anoop Mohta and justice KR Shriram said that state can continue to take action based on the circulars issued before April 30.
Though schools have shut for the vacation, Nand Kumar said that the state will force them to complete the admissions. “We will forcefully open the schools if need be, but they will have to admit all students allotted to them in pre-primary and Class 1 in the online admission process, before the next court hearing in June,” said Nand Kumar.
The department has arrived at this decision after reading the HC order, added Nand Kumar. Till Friday, the department had ordered all municipal corporations to put RTE admissions on hold until further notice. “We will inform all the corporations of the new plan of action soon,” Nand Kumar said, adding that the state government will not reimburse schools admitting students in pre-primary, as the matter is sub-judice.
Some schools said if the government doesn’t reimburse them, they might have to charge for admissions to pre-primary. “We might have to allow RTE students in pre-primary to continue till Class 1 by paying fees,” said Amol Dhamdhere, vice-president, Indian Education Society group of schools.
Schools said that they were frustrated with the constant changes in the admission process. “We wanted to keep our admissions on hold till June, until everything was clear,” said Satish Lotlikar, managing trustee, Manik Vidyamandir, Bandra.