Anxious parents besiege schools, some with politicians’ recommendations
Anxious parents thronged the Block Education Offices across the city on Tuesday as it was the last date for submitting applications to private unaided schools under the Right to Education Act (RTE) quota for underprivileged children.
Several fretful parents, desperate to obtain seats for their wards under the 25 per cent quota, said they had applied to several private unaided schools in and around their neighbourhood though some said they had approached schools far away too.
Their desperation was evident when M. Gopalkrishna, Block Education Officer, North Range 1, told The Hindu: “One parent has applied to 140 private schools and is hoping to secure admission in at least one of them.”
Another parent, Dinesh Kumar, who was seen at the North Range 1 BEO office, confessed to having applied to 20 private unaided schools in his neighbourhood for his son.
Several parents were unable to secure the required documents — caste and income certificates — before the deadline as the process takes several days. Primary Education Director A. Devprakash had stated that the deadline was extended from February 5 to 19 for the benefit of parents who were finding it difficult to submit all documents on time.
But despite this, an employee at the BEO said a large number of parents had not submitted their applications as they needed several days to obtain their income and caste certificates.
When this reporter went to the Block Education Office, North Range 1, a source in the office alleged that Mahalakshmipuram MLA Narendra Babu had sent at least five recommendation letters to influence the seat selection under the RTE quota.
This reporter also spotted a parent who was seen with one such recommendation. A parent who wants a seat for her daughter at the KLE Society's school in Rajajinagar, said: “I want my daughter to get admission in this school only. I am hoping this would help her secure a seat.”
Mr. Narendra Babu was not available for his comment.
No, says official
Commissioner for Public Instruction S.R. Umashankar said: “Politicians have no say in this process. We will follow a transparent process.” He made it clear there would be no further extension of deadline and added that they had received a large number of applications this year compared to last year.
Private schools that receive more applications than the number of seats will choose candidates through a draw. The Block Education Officers will approve the selected students under the RTE quota by March 11 and the admission process will start on March 15.