Parents run from pillar to post as schools deny RTE admissions to under privileged children 

Mumbai: Schools have reopened for the new academic year but till date only 1,946 students of the 6,049 students whose applications had been confirmed for admissions through the Right to Education (RTE) Act this year, are in school now.

At the education officers’ office in Prabhadevi, there is a crowd of parents. Most of them Muslim, they have come from far and near in spite of their roza, for a 12 pm meeting with the deputy education officer. It is 4 pm and they are still waiting.

“The official was not here when we came, we were told he had another meeting,” said a parent whose child was denied admission by a school, though the school had been allotted to the child through the RTE process. MaltiJayant Dalal School in Juhu is denying admission to all the students who were allotted admission in the school this year. “They say they have a minority certificate, but when we ask them to show it, they don’t show,” said a parent. Minority schools do not have to give admissions under RTE. The school had registered for granting admissions under RTE and did not have a minority status at the time, said an official.

Similarly, St. Joseph School, Malad which had filled in an RTE intake capacity of 80 students for Std. I has admitted only five students under RTE this year. “The schools had given RTE admissions for its Pre-KG level already. It has made a mistake of putting all 25% seats of Std. I for RTE admissions, but that is not our mistake,” said an official of the BMC education division. “Now, all the seats that they had declared available have got allotted, but the school is denying admissions,” he said.

“The schools tell us we live in slums, that we should go to municipality schools,” said Sameer Sheikh, a parent, who is seeking admission for his child in Std. I.

“We will be issuing notices to 33 schools against which we have received various complaints. We have also called a hearing for the two schools which have denied admissions, on Thursday,” said Prakash  Charhate, Deputy Education Officer.

Some schools have denied admissions to children because the income certificates their parents provided were bogus. Though the schools were asked by the deputy director, education to give a chance to these parents to provide proper certificates, some of these schools have filed an FIR against the parents.  The education department has also received complaints of schools that were demanding tuition fee from students who were admitted through RTE. Of the three rounds that take place under RTE admission process, only one round has taken place till date, the round two is expected to start by June 30, said an official.

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