Maharashtra: Statewide School Admissions Under RTE Begin Amid Policy Controversy

Maharashtra: Statewide School Admissions Under RTE Begin Amid Policy Controversy

However, opposition leaders and activists have criticised the decision, claiming that it undermines RTE Act and will exacerbate educational disparity in the state.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 01:04 AM IST
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The school admissions for children from economically weaker and disadvantaged sections under the Right to Education (RTE) Act will begin according to the state’s revised rules from today.

This year, the government has included state-run and aided schools in the centralised admission process, which until last year was only meant for private unaided schools. As a result, the number of available seats have shot up from last year’s 1.02 lakh to over 9.77 lakh at 75,960 schools this year. However, under the revised norms, the parents will first be allotted seats in government and aided schools in their vicinity, with the private unaided schools being made available only if there are no government-supported seats are available.

Exemption For Nearby Private Schools Sparks Debate

Under the RTE Act, 25% of the seats at the entry point – Class 1 or pre-primary section – in private unaided schools should be reserved for children from economically weaker and disadvantaged sections. These students get education free of cost, while the government reimburses their tuition fees to schools. Schools run by religious and linguistic minorities are exempted from this requirement.

However, earlier this year, the government changed the state’s RTE rules to exempt the private unaided schools that are located within one-kilometre radius of government and aided schools from having to set aside 25% of their seats for the marginalised students. The move was aimed at promoting government schools and limiting the state’s expenditure on reimbursements.

Support And Criticism Over RTE Amendment Impact

The decision was welcomed by unaided schools in the state, which have been attacking the government for failing to clear its Rs2,400 crore dues towards fee reimbursement. However, opposition leaders and activists have criticised the decision, claiming that it undermines RTE Act and will exacerbate educational disparity in the state.

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