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No takers for over 37,000 RTE seats

Reservation of seats

Times of India



For this academic year (2013-14), Karnataka set aside 1,08,344 seats for the 25% quota under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. But, at the end of the admission season, there are no takers for over 37,000 seats (34%) of these seats.

Although 1,54,811 applications poured in all the 10,913 aided and non-minority institutions, the final admission statistics revealed that many applicants didn’t join.

The 25% quota was split between disadvantaged groups and the economically weaker sections (EWS). Of the 25%, SCs were to get 7.5% and STs 1.5%. The remaining 16% was assigned to nine disadvantaged groups and the EWS. But the final allocation paints a different picture altogether. While 9,750 seats should have gone to SC/STs taking into consideration the total number of seats available, this group has got 21,676 seats.

Experts blame the vacant seats on the negative attitude of private schools and vague instructions by the education department. “Parents seeking admission under RTE were harassed to such an extent that many opted to stay out of the process. I know of several cases where parents were sent back and forth from schools to Block Education Officers and then back to schools, just to submit admission forms. Schools used different weapons to put off parents. Some made false claims of being minority institutions, some came up with problems like age and fake income certificates and the rest charged exorbitant amounts for school uniforms and books,” says Nagasimha G Rao, convener, RTE Task Force.

VP Niranjan Aradhya, fellow, Centre for Child and the Law, NLSIU, said, “Schools’ non-cooperation is to blame. We’re not creating an inclusive environment. Accessibility to private schools is so difficult that the purpose of RTE gets killed.”

The number of unfilled seats is worrying. “It’s a huge number. When Navodaya Vidyalayas were introduced, a series of street shows and other advertising strategies were used and they became popular. The government has not advertised RTE well,” said Nagasimha.

According to the education department, unfilled seats will neither be given to the school management nor will be filled through admissions. “The seats will remain vacant. Admission dates will not be extended to fill up seats,” said A Devprakash, director, primary education.

Fake income certificates

The problem of fake income certificates which derailed RTE objectives still continues. The principal of a city school got a shock while going through the admission forms of students under the RTE quota — the income certificate of one student showed ‘0’ in the annual income section.

“The certificates we have received give an impression they have been issued by authorities with eyes shut. We analysed 502 income certificates from our member schools and 275 showed annual income of either Rs 10,000 or Rs 12,000. One applicant came with two different income certificates for the same child! We handed over 15 such samples to the education department for action,” said D Shashi Kumar, secretary, Karnataka Private Schools Joint Action Committee.

RTE this year

Category – No. of seats

SC — 17,491

ST – 4,185

OBC – 49,067

Seats taken – 70,746

Seats vacant – 37,601

Source: Education department


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