RTE cell wants actual admission numbers

The East Singhbhum RTE (Right to Education) cell has asked private schools in the district to submit its RTE status report by next week to check how many children from poor homes have been enrolled so far.

By Our Correspondent in Jamshedpur
  • Published 19.07.18
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KID COUNT: The East Singhbhum education office in Jamshedpur on Tuesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

Jamshedpur: The East Singhbhum RTE (Right to Education) cell has asked private schools in the district to submit its RTE status report by next week to check how many children from poor homes have been enrolled so far.

This year, East Singhbhum district education department referred some 1,000 poor students under RTE this year to 64 ICSE and CBSE schools in the district. The RTE directive, sent last week, specifically inquires how many of those children were actually admitted in schools.

Of the 64 schools, 25 have sent their report. The rest will do so in the coming days, said Vishal Kumar, East Singhbhum RTE cell in-charge.

Private schools under the RTE Act, 2009, are required to set aside 25 per cent of their total seats for economically disadvantaged children to ensure a more level playing field for them in the future. Though this practice started in Jamshedpur from 2012, reserved seats often go vacant.

Private schools would claim not many poor parents approached them. Poor parents would in turn claim schools were reluctant to admit their children or the rules were too complicated for them to understand and follow, leading to their missing out the opportunity.

But now, the RTE cell wants a comprehensive record of poor students admitted to elite private schools.

"Usually parents come with their children to us and we refer them to schools concerned, depending on the area they live in, because under RTE Act students should attend the school closest to their home. But, we must know for sure if the schools concerned are admitting those children," he said.

Among the schools that sent their report is Jamshedpur Public School affiliated to CBSE. This school said of the 50 seats available under RTE, 22 have been filled up.

"This year it is still better. Or else, few poor children come. Most such parents aren't interested. They don't even turn up (to the school) even if the (district) education office refers them. We will wait for more such students till September," principal Namita Agarwal said, referring to the RTE norm that cites schools must wait for six months from the start of a session for quota students.

ICSE-affiliated Rajendra Vidyalaya principal Rakhi Banerjee pointed out two reasons why only 17 children were enrolled despite them having 40 seats. "The school may verify credentials of such candidates and find them faulty. Or, it may be tough to contact many poor parents for verification as their phones may stay unreachable," she said.

Recently, The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) sought a report from the DC on the alleged denial of entry-level admission of such children to five private cradles in Jamshedpur.