‘No free private schools for EWS kids in Maharashtra if govt school nearby’ | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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‘No free private schools for EWS kids in Maharashtra if govt school nearby’

Feb 16, 2024 02:51 AM IST

Educational experts criticised the move and said it appears to be contradicting the RTE Act.

Mumbai: Students from economically backward homes in Maharashtra are set to be deprived of free access to private schools under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE) from the next academic session if there is a government school nearby, according to latest amendments to regulations made by the state’s school education department that were published in the gazette on Thursday.

School children are waiting eagerly for CBSE’s Class 12 Board results, but the Delhi high court ruling against the scrapping of the moderation policy for this academic year has created some confusion over the result release dates.(Arvind Yadav/HT photo)
School children are waiting eagerly for CBSE’s Class 12 Board results, but the Delhi high court ruling against the scrapping of the moderation policy for this academic year has created some confusion over the result release dates.(Arvind Yadav/HT photo)

The amendment states that a disadvantaged child will not be eligible for an unaided private school in their respective area under the 25% RTE quota if there is a government or government-aided school within a kilometre radius. In effect, this is set to deprive children from this strata the opportunity to study in English medium private schools, particularly in urban centres like Mumbai and Pune, where government schools are abundant.

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Educational experts criticised the move and said it appears to be contradicting the RTE Act. A similar move by the Karnataka government has been challenged in court; the verdict for which is pending in the Supreme Court.

Over the last decade around 500,000 underprivileged children in the state have accessed education in private schools through RTE, as per government figures.

An official from the education department said that the push for the amendment was “inevitable” as the state owes 1,463 crore to private schools as fee reimbursement for RTE admissions in the last 12 years. This amount is would have crossed 2,000 crore if the act was not amended.

Those private unaided schools who wished to participate in the process will no longer be eligible for reimbursement, it said.

Kishore Darak, an educationist said, “I wonder how a state government can issue a notification amending RTE rules, nullifying the law of the Union. The notification contradicts RTE in its current form and hence may be struck down by legal authorities.”

Tushar Mahajan, deputy secretary, school education department, said, “Our current plan is to bolster government and government-aided schools with increased funding and improved infrastructure. We wish to make government schools more appealing.”

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