| Class Act
To iron out problems and plug gaps in implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act in capital schools, Ranchi deputy commissioner K.K. Soan has called an emergency meeting with principals on May 12.
The meet, scheduled in the second half of Saturday, will be an open discussion with all stakeholders to motivate them to work in tandem and ensure successful implementation of RTE.
It is very unfortunate that not many schools have come forward to admit below poverty line (BPL) children despite a government order, asking them to do so at entry level (till Class V). It certainly tells us that something is wrong somewhere. So, I have called a meeting with principals of private schools to chalk out our mission ahead, Soan said.
We will try and address whatever apprehensions they (schools) have so that RTE guidelines can be implemented with sincerity, he added.
According to district superintendent of education (DSE) Jayant Mishra, there are 58 recognised CBSE and ICSE schools here. Rules say these must reserve 25 per cent seats for BPL children.
We had recently asked all schools to furnish details on the status of admission of BPL students. Only 25 schools have responded. The total number of admissions in the past year (April 2011-March 2012) is just 204, which is far from the target, said Mishra.
He added that the report was forwarded to the deputy commissioner last week after which he decided to take up the matter with heads of all the private school.
Schools claim their apprehensions regarding implementation of the RTE guidelines ranged from non-payment of fees by the government to the challenge of identifying BPL children in the vicinity.
Only recently, Kanke-based Neerja Sahay DAV School reportedly shot notices to the families of around a dozen BPL students, asking them either to deposit fees or withdraw their wards because the government hasnt paid the school on their behalf for a year.
Although the principal could not be contacted for comments, a senior functionary of the school argued that the only source of funding for unaided schools was the fee paid by students. Last year, we admitted BPL students under the RTE order, but the government till date hasnt given a single penny. In such a condition it becomes difficult for us to function, he said.
Principal of Bridgeford School S. Siplangiya said they had been doing this social service since long. We run a regular cradle for underprivileged children since 2004 near our school. Today, around 500 students are enrolled in the school, from nursery to Class VII, she said.
Soan said he would look into the matter.