RTE implementation slow, only 321 schools seek reserved quota fund

The government is likely to pay the schools the money in two instalments. Express

Only 321 schools in total have applied for reimbursement for the 25 per cent seats that are reserved for socially, physically and economically challenged students under Right to Education Act 2009 in Pune.

There are 1,191 private aided and 996 private unaided schools in the district. This reimbursement figure indicates that RTE is yet to be implemented in vast majority of the schools in the district despite claims of improvement by primary education department.

Pune Zilla Parishad had opened a page on their website this year wherein schools could log in as per their District Information System for Education(DISE) code and enter the number of students who were admitted under the reserved quota as per RTE.

"In total, 321 schools have applied for reimbursement. 4,524 students in total have taken admission in entry level classes in these schools as per RTE. Of this, 2,273 students belong to Schedule Caste (SC), 208 to Schedule Tribe (ST), six are physically challenged and 2,037 students belong to economically weaker sections (EWS) of society," said a ZP official.

"This includes schools that have pre-primary classes at the entry level. But as per the RTE Act, reimbursement is not given to students who have been admitted to pre-primary classes. Hence out of 4,524 students, only 1,164 have been admitted to Class 1 which is the entry level class as per RTE Act. And hence reimbursement will be given to 1664 students," said the official. Of the 1,664 students who have got admission, 768 students belong to SC category, 104 to ST category, five are physically challenged and 787 students belong to EWS category. A total of Rs 1,23,77,000 will be reimbursed by the state education department to the schools .

But activists say that this shows the lack of implementation of RTE Act in the district. "As per official figures, Pune had filled 50 per cent of the seats under RTE. But this new figure indicate that RTE has not been implemented as well as we were made to believe. If any school has even one student admitted under RTE, they will file for reimbursement. This is the true figure and this shows the abysmal performance of the education department in implementing RTE," said educational activist Nilesh Borate. "This shows the loopholes in the system. Even if students are admitted to pre-primary classes, there is no reimbursement for these kids. Hence there will be lack of will power in the schools to implement RTE," added Borate.

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