Ardhra Nair, March 20,2017

Source: The Times of India

Pune : Pvt Schools, Govt Play Blame Game

Veena Netke has been visiting the Pune Municipal Corporation’s Right To Education grievance redressal cell for the past eight days. Her daughter was allotted a school during the common admission process but the institute has asked her to pay the school fee.Mohammad Tamboli’s granddaughter was allotted three schools after the lottery , but none of them are accepting her.

Thousands of other children are in the same boat as private schools have denied admission to them under RTE.

Pune had 15,000 vacant seats under RTE, and the same number of students were allotted the seats. However, only 5,000 students have been able to confirm their admission.

Private schools, however, can’t be blamed entirely . The government has also been lax in creating awareness about the RTE Act, taking schools in to confidence and also in reimbursing pending dues.

Rajendra Singh, secretary of Independent English Schools Association, said school associations across the state were set to meet on Monday to decide whether to completely stop admissions under RTE till the reimbursement amounts are disbursed.

“None of the schools have got their reimbursement for 2015-16 and 2016-17. The reimbursed amount for 2012-13 was only 66%. Students who joined in 2012 or later are in Class II, III or IV . None of the schools with such children have got a single penny from the government.So, if the school had 30 RTE children in 2012, now it has 150 children. We are suffering a loss of fee from 150 children, which is a huge amount,“ Singh said.

Singh claims that 84 private schools have shut down as they only ran on the fees received from students. Without the government’s reimbursements, they had to close.

“If a school has 10 seats, and only 5 admissions happen un only 5 admissions happen under RTE, the remaining 5 seats have to be kept vacant till Std VIII. The government doesn’t pay the fee for vacant seats. On top of it, the government threatens us with dire consequences. The government first needs to clean up its act,“ he added.

Director of primary education Govind Nandede didn’t respond to calls. However, education officer (primary) at the Zilla Parishad, Mushtaq Shaikh said the government would soon be disbursing the amount, which is about Rs 13,500 per student. He also said the government must increase manpower in the education department. Parents say they suffer the most. A father who works as an electrician said, “I have been coming to the grievance redressal cell every day since admissions started. My morning starts by first going to the school asking them to admit my daughter and then coming here. I live 8km away from this office. I have been losing out on daily wages. School authorities talk to us badly , sometimes they even get irritated because we cannot understand English.“

He said there were 10 seats under the 25% quota in the school where his daughter was supposed to get admission.“The school told us to pay Rs 8,000. Where will I get it from?
The others paid up to confirm the admissions. Only I came to the office to complain. This is the case in almost all schools,“ he said.

Admissions open on Monday

Mushtaq Shaikh said admissions under RTE would be extended to Monday as many parents complained that schools were denying admission.“On Monday , we will know how many admissions could be done and then taking into account how the day goes, we will decide whether to extend the dates further,“ he said.