Private schools in Jamshedpur have lobbed the ball into the administration’s court for attracting economically weaker students to study with their privileged peers as mandated by the 25 per cent quota under the Right to Education Act, 2009.
Many English medium schools that have failed to admit underprivileged children for occupying the seats on offer have asked the district education department to fetch or refer candidates, arguing that few among the poor have turned up on their own.
Secretary of Tagore Academy Ashis Choudhury pointed out that his school had written to the department on Monday.
“We have also written to the RTE cell asking it to help us admit children to fill the vacant seats. Of the 106 seats at the entry level in our school, about 26 are reserved seats. But so far, we could admit only one student. But in case the district education department receives any request from any family, we are open to grant the child admission,” Choudhury told The Telegraph.
The problem with schools has been the issue of obtaining necessary documents such as caste certificates (for SC/ST students) or BPL cards, without which the admissions are not possible.
Moreover, some schools are situated in places that pose a limitation to feeder areas (within a 3km radius from where the underprivileged students are to be selected). For instance, the schools are in commercial areas, which lack any slum or BPL families.
Dayanand Public School, which has failed to admit student to any of its 15 reserved seats, has also appealed to the education department.
Although the seats are vacant after four months into the new session, they have requested the district education department to send them students.
“The poor are apprehensive about joining private schools. We are trying to encourage them since the last year, but without any result. A woman had turned up for her child’s admission, but when we asked for necessary documents she never returned again, said Swarna Mishra, principal of Dayanand Public School.
She said it wasn’t possible for the school to go door to door. “If anybody approaches the district education department and the officials refer them to us, we don’t mind taking them in,” Mishra added.
The district education office also sent a report to the human resource development department last month, detailing the status of the schools that had been directed to make room for disadvantaged children.
Although all the 221 private schools in the district were asked to submit reports on the number of students admitted, only 32 responded, of which many could not fill the quota of seats.
“We will try our best if schools have failed to do so. In case any child comes to us seeking admission, we will surely refer him or her to the schools after taking note of the area they reside in. We will try our best to implement the law,” said Prakash Kumar, additional district programme officer, East Singhbhum.