| File picture of parents leaving their children at a public school in Bhubaneswar |
Bhubaneswar, July 3: The majority of private schools in the capital city have reported zero admissions under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, thanks to the state government’s indifference, apart from lack of awareness about the provision among the poor.
The act provides for reservation of 25 per cent seats for poor children.
Moreover, various NGOs have done little to ensure that poor students benefit from the scheme.
While most schools claimed that they had no applicants for the seats set aside for poor children, others said they had not yet received a clear directive from the government.
Trustee of Delhi Public School (Kalinga) Mala Mishra said the school had not received a single application for the reserved seats. “We are aware of the provisions and have absolutely no problems in implementing it, but we have received no such applications till now,” she said.
Similar is the case with Sai International School and St Xavier’s Group of Schools here. “We have not got any applications,” said Sai International chairman Bijoy Kumar Sahoo.
Spokesperson for Xavier School at Satyanagar Paramita Mishra said: “We have not received any communication from the government about what exactly needs to be done on part of the school.”
Other schools in the capital city, including DAV Public schools at Unit-VIII and Pokhariput, KIIT International, Venkateshwar English Medium, could not provide any details on admissions under the category.
Although DAV Chandrasekharpur and Buxi Jagabandhu English Medium (BJEM) School have admitted students under this quota, the figures are far from rosy. “We have got seven applications and admitted them all. None has been deprived of their rightful opportunity,” said admission in charge of DAV Public School (Chandrashekharpur) Indira Bhattacharya. However, she did not divulge details about what was done about the remaining seats under the quota.
At BJEM School, 13 students have been admitted as per the act’s provision.
Many schools, saddled with vacant seats under the provision, have dereserved the seats on their own and kept it open for general students.
Krushna Gopal Mohapatra, state project director of the Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority, which looks after implementation of the Education Act in the state, said though there had been several awareness campaigns to sensitise people about the provision, they were yet to track its response in private schools.
“The beneficiaries may continue to be in the dark about the provision while the state government has not initiated enough steps to communicate it to the poor students and their parents,” said Ranjan Mohanty, state representative of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
“It may be that there are parents, who do not feel confident enough to approach the schools on their own and expect someone else to help them out. In either case, it is the responsibility of the government or the voluntary organisations working in the education sector to facilitate the process,” he said.