Activist slams keeping schools managed by minorities out of the Act’s purview

There are no takers for 536 seats reserved under the Right to Education Act (RTE) in unaided schools in Dakshina Kannada for the academic year 2013-14.

Of the 1,709 seats reserved under the RTE in the district 1,173 students (65 per cent) have been admitted by various schools during the current academic year, according to the details released by the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) at a consultative meeting on effective implementation of the RTE here on Friday.

The admission of students under the RTE in the district went up this academic year when compared to 2012-13. A release by the SFI and DYFI said that 763 of the 1,645 reserved seats were filled in private schools in the district in the last academic year.

An official in the office of the Deputy Director for Public Instruction (DDPI) here confirmed that the details released were correct.

Speaking at the meeting Muneer Katipalla, president, district unit of the DYFI said that 536 seats remained vacant this year due to lack of awareness on the part of the poor that such a facility existed. Mr. Katipalla questioned the exclusion of schools managed by minority institutions from the Act’s ambit. A majority of schools in Dakshina Kannada were being managed by minority institutions, he pointed out.

State president of the SFI Ananth Naik said that for private schools the government reimbursed Rs. 11,000 per child every year. Notwithstanding this, managements of private schools collected capitation fee in different forms from other students who were not covered under the RTE, stating that the amount reimbursed by the government was not enough, he alleged.

Mr. Naik said that the government should form parents’ committees in each such private school to put an end to capitation fee collection. The RTE in its current form was favourable to managements of private schools, he alleged.

The government should not permit opening any new private school in the State, he said.

Krishna Shastri Balila, a retired headmaster, said all schools should be funded and regulated by the government to bring “equitable quality in education through neighbourhood schools”.

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