Sunday, 14 August 2016

School admission under RTE a struggle

School admission a distant dream, despite RTE Act

STAFF REPORTER

MILES TO GO: Schools in the State which began functioning in June have kept admissions under the RTE Act open till November. A file picture of an officer verifying reimbursement claims towards admissions made under RTE Act.

While the number of seats filled under the Act has increased, reports of children being turned away are not uncommon

P. Kutti Kamatchi and her husband, a labourer, who had sought admission for their son two months ago, was turned away by a private matriculation school in Tirumangalam, Madurai, though he had met all the criteria under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

After a lengthy struggle, she finally managed to admit her son with the help of activists in another private school under the RTE Act without paying any capitation fee.

Though Minister for School Education P. Benjamin said in the Assembly recently that 94,811 students had secured admission under the RTE Act in 2015-16, technically an increase from the last two years, the process remains an arduous task for many.

A resident of Periyanaickenpalayam, P.P. Muthusamy, was denied LKG admission for his son two years ago by a private matriculation school and the management gave him many reasons, none of which were valid, he argued.

Schools across the State which began functioning in June have kept the admissions under the RTE Act open till November as suggested by the Education department.

In Tiruchi, the inspector of Matriculation Schools has stated that all 1,314 seats have been filled at the entry level across 107 private matriculation schools.

Similarly, in Coimbatore, 3,694 of the 3,959 seats earmarked for RTE admissions had been filled up.

In Chennai, which has over 5,000 seats in the entry level, more than 70 per cent had been filled up.

“There is a lot more awareness now among parents about the RTE act and over the last few years, we have seen more of them approach schools.

“There are, however, several issues that need to be addressed at the classroom level. We have received a few complaints of children admitted under the RTE Act being discriminated against in schools owing to their underprivileged background. This puts off a few parents,” said S. Arumainathan, president of the Tamil Nadu Parents Students Welfare Association.

Changes needed

A city school principal pointed out that they were forced to reject applications for admission of many students as they did not meet the distance criteria. “A comprehensive online portal, where all information about seats available, would help bring down complaints against schools to a great extent,” he said.

Urging the State government to adopt the method followed by engineering and medical colleges for admissions under the RTE Act, Eswaran, State Secretary of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Youth Wing, said parents should be allowed to apply online with necessary documents and indicating the school of their preference.

“The government should collate the data and conduct a counselling after getting the number of RTE seats available in each school. This would be a transparent system and take away the right to admit students away from the schools.” Ajeeth Prasad Jain, Principal, Bhavans Rajaji Vidyashram, suggested that the practice of filtering out applicants who can qualify for the RTE Act could be done at the entry level. “While schools receive scores of applications, we filter out those who have applied normally but are eligible for admission under the RTE Act and inform them of the same. Schools can come forward and take the onus to enable more admissions under the RTE Act,” he said.

(With inputs from Karthik Madhavan, P.V. Srividya, K. Raju, C. Jaishankar, S. Poorvaja and Pon Vasanth Arunachalam)


Disclaimer

This Blog Spot is meant for publishing reports about the usage of RTE Act (The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009) so as to create an awareness to the general public and also to keep it as a ready reckoner by them. So the readers may extend their gratitude towards the Author as we quoted at the bottom of each Post under the title "Courtesy".

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