Alifiya Khan ,Jul 31, 2015,

Source:The Indian Express

Activists, however, alleged the department was refusing to commit to a time-frame for completion of the process

After weeks of inaction over the controversy surrounding completion of Round I of RTE admissions, education department officials have finally taken action. A team of 15 officials, headed by a three-member panel, have been appointed to visit all schools in the city where complaints of parents regarding RTE admissions have been received. On Wednesday and Thursday, the officials, in batches, did the rounds of some schools and showcause notices were also issued to a few schools for refusing to admit children allotted admissions under Round I. The action came after a few members of the Aam Aadmi Party protested outside the RTE cell of the education board of Pune Municipal Corporation demanding that the board take action against the errant schools. Pune Newsline had earlier reported how the board first promised to appoint 15 officials for each division and later backtracked, refusing to take any action till a verdict was reached in the case on RTE in the Bombay High Court. Dinkar Temkar, deputy director of primary education, confirmed that education officials have been told to ensure that Round I of RTE admissions has been completed. “The issue over pre-primary RTE admissions is as good as resolved in court and hence there is no reason why schools should refuse those admissions. As far as Class I admissions go, there is some resistance from certain schools but we are asking officers to visit and counsel them,” he said. However, activists rue that on one hand while the officers have resumed Round I admissions , there is no deadline set for completion of the process. “There should be a time-bound process to complete the admissions and action must be taken against errant schools,,” said activist Mukund Kirdat. Activists alleged that the department is refusing to commit to a time-frame for the process. Initially, the deadline to complete Round I was set for July 21 and later extended to July 28 (that was set for completing Round I admissions) which too has elapsed. Senior officials say education officials have been told to extend the deadline as per need. “We have only instructed education officials to complete the admissions as soon as possible and take a decision on extending deadline,” said Temkar. Activists had earlier pointed towards 3,500 students including both pre-primary and STD I entry points who had got allotments were yet to confirm their admissions until July first week. But when asked if there was any updated official figure, Temkar said they didn’t have exact details yet. “The number might be around 1,500 now but we will ask the officers to update so that we know the exact number,” he said.