The number of available seats under the RTE quota in 2019-20 has come down to 424 in Dakshina Kannada and 46 in Udupi district.
The fall has followed the state government’s amendment to the rules of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) regarding prioritising government schools over private schools.
The number of seats under the RTE quota, when it was implemented in 2012-13, was 1,645 in Dakshina Kannada and 1,061 in Udupi district. In 2013-14, there were 1,652 seats in Dakshina Kannada. Initially, 25% of the seats for children from backward classes and weaker sections of the society in private schools were reserved under RTE.
Following the drastic decline in the number of students enrolling in government schools, the state government passed an amendment in December 2018 to prioritise government schools. As a result, a majority of the private schools have been kept out of the ambit as per the RTE quota.
“There are government or aided schools in most places. According to the amendment, a child can be admitted to a private school under the RTE quota only if there is no government or aided school in the vicinity,” explained Y Shivaramaiah, DDPI.
In 2018-19, 1,884 students joined private schools under the RTE quota. After the amendment of the RTE rules, Mangaluru South has seen the highest number of 138 seats, while Moodbidri block has had the lowest, with 16 seats.
The RTE Act aimed at providing a conducive atmosphere for the students to learn. It also mentions on student-teacher ratio, basic facilities and other amenities in the schools. To provide an opportunity for the poor, it had asked a 25% reservation in private schools.
Based on the information provided by the DDPI and the BEO, the availability of seats in private schools was calculated under the RTE quota in the past. There were, however, allegations too, on the discrimination of the RTE quota children at private schools as well, said sources.
Shivaramaiah said that the amendment helped save crores of rupees that had been reimbursed by the government as fees for the children admitted to private schools under the RTE quota.
In Udupi, 1,370 seats were available in 101 schools under the RTE quota in 2012-13. This year, it has fallen to 6.
According to sources, Parkala UHPS School, St Antony School in Sastana, Mulladka St Joseph School, Innanje SVH School are the private schools included in the RTE quota.
No private schools in Byndoor and Kundapur blocks have been included under the quota.
The DDPI said that applications have already been submitted by the parents online.
“The department will not get details on the number of applications submitted. After verifying the documents, the eligible lists will be released by May 10 for admission,” he added.