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Only 2 out of 2,500 schools apply for RTE

Implementation, Right to Education, School Recognition

NAGPUR: While the mammoth Right To Education (RTE) Act’s implementation is being pushed through by state government from this academic year itself, local authorities are struggling to find support from schools. On Saturday the deadline to apply for a certificate of recognition (COR) ended but only two out of the approximately 2,500 schools in the district had sent in their application. The COR is a mandatory document for all schools regardless of the board they are affiliated to.

Someshwar Netam, education officer (primary), is the person in-charge of the entire operations and he too was displeased with the response. “We had informed all schools well in advance but only two of them have applied so far, one is South Point School from the state board and there is another CBSE school. My department has been giving out all the necessary information to schools and have always been very open in communication, I don’t understand why the hesitation still exists,” said Netam.

TOI spoke to some top schools in city and after knowing the severity of the problem but none of them wanted to come on record. A principal said, “We were all busy with the beginning of new academic session. And there are so many rules under the RTE that it becomes very confusing. We are gathering all the documents required for COR and will submit our application soon. As it is, we have just managed to tide over the 25% free quota clause under the law and now they are hounding us for this new COR.”

While schools may be taking this clause lightly for now, many are not aware of the importance that RTE gives to COR. Chapter I, section 18 of the RTE explicitly mentions that schools will be fined up to Rs1 lakh if they operate without a valid COR, and then further a penalty of Rs10,000 per day if the violations continue. The local education office has been given the powers to withdraw the recognition of schools if the institute fails to obtain a COR for the current academic year.

The deputy director of education Mahesh Karajgaonkar said, “We will be issuing notices to all those schools who failed to meet the deadline. RTE is the law now and there is absolutely no reason for schools to shy away. The recognition of schools can be cancelled if they fail to meet the norms.”

The Times of India, 01 July 2012

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