Parents ignore substandard schools under RTE

Last Updated 11 March 2013, 20:45 IST

An admission list announced by the government on Monday under the Right to Education Act shows that parents are not keen on enrolling their children in schools lacking proper infrastructure, although admissions are free.

Several such private schools in Bangalore North Zone III and Bangalore South Zone II are left wanting for students and as much as 25 per cent of their seats are lying vacant.
On the contrary, in Max Muller Public School, for the 10 seats available, there were 167 applications from residents within the ward, and 79 applications from outside it. Similar was the case with all the popular schools.

The BEO offices in the City put out the list of students selected for admission under the RTE’s 25 per cent reservation provision. The block education officers were given time till March 15 to finalise the list. However, several offices had completed the process by Monday.

The list was proposed from the applications received by schools. In the application forms, parents had given their order of priority of schools in their ward to which they sought admission.

Based on the number of seats available in each school under the RTE provision (25 per cent of the total number of available seats), the admission list was prepared. In case there were more number of applicants than the seats available in a school, a lottery was drawn to select a candidate for that seat.

In North Zone III, the seats available were 3,295 for Class I and LKG put together. The received number of applications received was a mere 1,970 and the number of students selected for admission is 1,235.

“This has happened because the rest of the seats are available in schools that parents do not want to choose,” said Ramesh, the block education officer of the zone.

Moreover, the number of applications received is itself low as the preferred schools in this area fall under the minority category (minority schools do not come under the RTE reservation provision). The St Sophia’s Convent School, Bishop Cotton Institutions and St Germain School are some of the popular schools here.

Similar is the situation with South Zone II. According to block education officer Nagarathna D, for class I, the available seats were 1,238, while the received applications were 2,496. The number of children in the admission list now is 1,168.

The Child Rights Trust director Nagasimha G Rao said, “We have observed this trend, too. Parents seem to trust only the reputed schools. Our analysis shows that about 60 to 70 schools have no takers at all.”

Shashi Kumar of Karnataka Private School Management Federation told Deccan Herald that the federation had approached the government officials concerned to relaxthe criterion for choosing schools to within a one-kilometre radius from the student’s residence, so that all schools get to fill their seats.

“Otherwise, every one will want to go to the same school and the rest of the schools will have to bear the brunt of it.”

While there will be another round of admissions based on the remaining seats in the first round, nothing much is likely to be done in cases where schools have no takers. “We cannot force any one to enrol with a particular school,” said Primary and Secondary Education Secretary G Kumar Naik.

(Published 11 March 2013, 19:08 IST)

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