Schools in Maharashtra have approached the Supreme Court challenging the state’s orders to admit students under the RTE quota at two different levels. We have previously covered a wide range of problems and challenges under RTE faced by private (aided and also unaided) Hindu run schools. The tussle between these schools and the State has been going on for a while, while thousands of schools, mostly budget schools serving deprived communities, have been forced to shut down or are on the verge of closure as per NISA (National Independent School Alliance).
The unaided schools forum which comprises various schools from Mumbai, has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the Maharashtra government’s two levels of entry under RTE – one at the pre-primary level and the other at Class I.
- According to this rule, schools which had 100 seats in pre primary classes have to reserve 25% of the seats for the economically weak and disadvantaged sections of the society under RTE.
- At Class I if the school has 200 seats, then it has to set apart an additional 25 seats to meet the RTE quota.
S C Kedia, Secretary of the forum, said:
“Keeping the seats vacant for two years of pre-primary results in denying the seat to a student from the general category which is against the RTE Act which says that no child should be denied right to school.”
“The state requires us to leave the reserved seats vacant throughout the year even if there are no takers. The state does not reimburse for the vacant seats and due to this, the financial burden is passed on to the students from the general category which isn’t fair to them.”
The forum has claimed that the directives are defeating the larger cause of education.
We previously covered how over 16,000 schools in Maharashtra alone are under severe financial burden due to non-payment of RTE reimbursement by the Government. Above all this – the scams associated with RTE quota admissions and school’s being made culpable for the same, has made functioning more difficult for these schools.
An initiative which was started with the purported vision of making education more accessible in Bharat for everyone has failed miserably at its agenda, and instead created more problems for the existing education providers. Or was it the agenda all along to destroy Hindu-run capacity in the education sector, and drive parents into the arms of ‘minority’ institutions?