Nagpur, July 11, 2013: Though the state government has been promoting 25% seats quota under Right To Education Act (RTE), the latest admission figures are discouraging. In the six districts of Nagpur division, about 71% seats under RTE are still vacant and the state government has reminded school managements they cannot give it to general category students. JSSaharia, additional chief secretary in charge of school education said, "The RTE clearly says 25% seats are to be filled only from specified category of students."
Under the RTE's 25% quota, there are a total 16,439 seats available in Nagpur division and till June 26 (school reopening day) only 4,712 of them had been filled. In Nagpur district, 55% of RTE seats remain vacant as only 2,605 students got admission against the available 5,788 seats. The worst performing district was Chandrapur as 95% of its seats remain vacant. The district had only 249 admissions the 4,743 seats available, and education officials in Nagpur have now asked the local officers there to provide reasons for this abysmal performance.
Even backward Gadchiroli's RTE statistics are healthier compared to Chandrapur with 87% seats remaining vacant. Only 215 students got admissions compared to 1,655 seats available in Naxalism affected district. At Bhandara district, the situation is only slightly better as 73% seats remain vacant with only 143 students getting admission out of 529 seats available. In Gondia, 65% seats remain vacant with 755 students admitted against 2,142 seats. Wardha equals Nagpur at the top of the table with 55% RTE seats vacant. Here, 725 students were admitted against 1,582 RTE seats.
Education officials reasons for this are both "ignorance on part of parents and resistance from schools". A staffer at the education office who deals with RTE admissions said, "Though RTE has been publicized to a great extent, it seems the category of people we are targeting have not understood it properly. Many complaints we received from parents ultimately turned out to be a result of them feeling that schools are obliging them by granting RTE seats. We keep telling parents RTE is their right and schools have no say in this. The other part is clearly the arrogance and resistance by school officials are under the impression that they can later fill these seats with paying general category students."
He went on to add that action can't be taken on a majority of the schools because they are likely to reject RTE candidates on grounds such as distance, income etc. Officials hope state's reminder to every school that RTE seats must remain vacant all through the year might just do the trick. (Source: Abhishek Choudhari, TNN)