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Schools dodge study right act

Patna, Aug. 2: The implementation of the landmark legislation to provide free and compulsory education to children between six and 14 years of age this year onwards has become a tough task for the administration.

The Right to Education (RTE) Act mandates private educational institutions to reserve 25 per cent seats for children from weaker sections of the society. But a state human resource development (HRD) department report has revealed that none of the prime educational institutions in the city has enrolled students from the particular section this academic session. Prominent schools in the state capital, including Notre Dame Academy, Delhi Public School, St Michaels School, St Josephs Convent High School, Loyola High School and Delhi Public School, have violated the act.

Only 33 schools in the state capital have submitted the lists containing names of around 350 students belonging to the weaker sections of society to the HRD.

HRD deputy director (primary education) R.S. Singh told The Telegraph: According to the RTE Act, 2010, we have asked all educational institutions in the capital to reserve 25 per cent seats in Class I for students from weaker sections but many missionary institutions have not given admission to students from weaker sections of the society.

Singh said the department would review the reason behind the schools not giving admission to the students from the weaker sections of the society.

Sources said the HRD plans to adopt strict action against the schools not complying with the RTE Act or the HRD order. Singh said many schools had approached Patna High Court seeking stay on the implementation of the RTE Act, but the court has not done that. Therefore, schools not admitting children from weaker sections of society this session need to give an explanation.

Around 15 schools belonging to the Association of Heads of Christian School, including Don Bosco Academy, St Karens High School, St Xaviers School, Christ Church School, St Dominic Savios High School, Notre Dame Academy, St Josephs Convent, Loyola High School and St Michaels High School, have moved the high court seeking stay on the implementation of the RTE.

We are not against implementing the 25 per cent quota in schools, but the directive is not clear and most of provisions under RTE are beyond our limit to accept. We did seek a clarification from the state HRD on the issue several times but till now, the department has not responded leaving us with no option, said Peter Arockiasamy, the principal of St Michaels High School.

Rs 2,800, which the state government is ready to pay for each underprivileged child as school fee and other expenditure per annum, is also meagre. The school has to pay salaries to teachers and employees and maintain other facilities. How can the government expect that it will be easy for us, said Arockiasamy.

The school authorities also said the state government should come up with rules and regulations on the RTE Act, specifying as who the children are they need to admit. Moreover, 25 per cent seats are still vacant, as we are waiting for the high court order. We will go through the high court order, Arockiasamy said.

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