RTE: Awareness on the rise, admissions soar

RTE: Awareness on the rise, admissions soar

Schools, however, deny admission claiming minority status

RTE: Awareness on the rise, admissions soar

With many seats getting filled under the 25 per cent quota of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, it looks like the awareness quotient on the provision of free education is gradually increasing.

As per this year’s figures, as many as 93,000 seats out of the total 1,10,794 seats reserved under the RTE Act have already been filled, according to officials from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). 

There has been a steady increase in the number of RTE admissions over the years, since the RTE was first implemented in the State. For example, in the academic year 2013-14, a total of 73,000 seats were taken, out of the 1,08,000 seats earmarked under the 25 per cent quota.

However, in 2012-13, the number of seats filled under the provision was lesser. Out of the total 1,16,000 seats under the provision, only 44,000 seats were filled. “When the RTE was first implemented in the State, there was no sufficient time and added to that there was no publicity. This resulted in nearly 72,000 seats going vacant. This was gradually rectified with more publicity and more follow-up action by the government,” said an official from DPI.

DPI commissioner Mohammed Mohsin also attributed the increased level of awareness on RTE to various measures. “A number of training programmes relating to RTE were held for block level and district level education workers. They, in turn, helped in spreading awareness about RTE. Added to that, publicity by all forms of the media – print and electronic and work by NGOs has greatly helped,” said Mohsin. 

Mohsin ruled out reallocating the remaining 17,794 vacant RTE seats this year. “All the eligible candidates who had applied have been given seats and we cannot do anything about the remaining seats,” he said.   

Commenting on the plight of nearly 1,200 students who were admitted under the Act this year, but were denied admission by schools claiming minority status, Mohsin assured that all the “eligible” candidates would be given seats. 

“Since the matter is in the court, we cannot do anything as of now. All concerned students will be given seats, no matter how late it is, once the matter has been settled,” he said.