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RTE: 32,000 schools to be put on notice

Private schools, Reservation of seats

MUMBAI: Around 32,000 schools in the state will be slapped with notices for not following the rule of giving 25% of their seats to students from weaker socioeconomic sections under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education 2009 (RTE) Act this academic year.

Another notice will also be issued to schools that haven’t started the process for obtaining a certificate of registration which has become mandatory for all schools under the new Act. Schools that are unable to show cause stand to lose their recognition.

As per preliminary data, not more than 20 students have been admitted into the schools under the 25% quota. The education department will now seek an explanation from every school, including 20,460 government-aided schools and 12,144 private unaided schools on why they did not admit at least 25% of poor students. Sanjay Deshmukh, nodal officer for RTE and special project director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) said, “It appears that the schools have not received many applications for these seats. But many school authorities did not even display the total number of seats and dates for application on their notice boards. Big schools in Nagpur have implemented the 25% reservation, then why haven’t city schools done the same?”

Also, none of the schools in the city have applied for registration under the new rule that stipulates that no school can be established without obtaining a certificate of registration from the state government. This certificate will be given only to schools that meet RTE norms of infrastructure and teacher qualifications. The schools have to acquire this certificate within three years from the commencement of the Act i.e. before March 31, 2013. But since the certificate can only be issued after an inspection of the school premises, the education authorities had asked schools to submit information two years ago.
“So far, not a single school has applied. We had asked for early applications because these provisions are time-consuming. For primary school teachers who do not have graduate degrees, we give a five-year period for teachers to pursue higher qualifications. But if schools do not apply sooner, they will miss the March 31 deadline,” said Deshmukh.
However, schools say that they did not receive the notifications till last year. Najma Kazi, principal of Anjuman Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls’ High School, Byculla, says that they received the notification for the self-application in October 2011. “The government was late in sending out the notifications. We are compiling the data and all the schools under our management will submit the data by June 30,” she added.

Daily News and Analysis, 13 June 2012

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