Kids miss date with RTE seats over age criteria, parents upset

Kids miss date with RTE seats over age criteria, parents upset

'Rule applies only to quota applicants, not direct admissions'

Kids miss date with RTE seats over age criteria, parents upset
 Many parents who were eager to get their children seats in private schools through the Right to Education Act quota were disappointed to find that their applications were not being accepted because their children were born a few days early or late.

The Aadhaar-linked online software to apply for 25% of seats in non-minority private schools does not accept applications which do not fall within the age limit set by the department of public instruction.

Prakash N tried to apply for LKG for his son, but the boy was short of the age limit by just two days. His son was born on July 30, 2012 and according to the criteria for LKG admissions, the date of birth should be between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013. “I wanted my son to receive good education and I thought I would be able to get it through the RTE provision. Now, my son will have to stay home for a year because I cannot afford to send him to a private school with my meagre salary as a labourer,” he said.

Another parent, Pramod, could not submit the application for his son for Class 1 because he was born on August 9, 2011 whereas the age bracket is August 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011. “I applied two years ago for LKG, but my son did not get a seat in the lottery. I admitted him to a private school thinking that I can apply again for Class 1, but now I am very disappointed,” he said. He feels the system is unfair because if he were to apply to private schools directly, his son would get admission without any qualms over the date of birth.

B N Yogananda, general secretary of the RTE Students and Parents' Association (RTE Stupa), said that they had received many such cases at their centres. “Last year too, the process was online but unlike this year, applications were not rejected based on date of birth,” he said. The rules change every year and parents do not know what to do, Yogananda said. “Why should these rules apply so strictly only to poor people? Are private schools following the age criteria for the remaining 75% students,” he asked.

State Project Director for SSA, P C Jaffer, said the age criteria has already provided for a concession of two months.

“According to RTE Act, the right is guaranteed to children between the ages of six and 14 years. We have provided a concession of two months and made the lower limit five years ten months for Class 1 based on the Karnataka Education Act,” he said. He said parents have to wait till next year to apply again. He said private schools largely follow age criteria for admissions.