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Day wasted as online RTE application portal opens late

Parents collecting application forms at an RTE help desk in Rajajinagar in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Parents collecting application forms at an RTE help desk in Rajajinagar in Bengaluru on Tuesday.  

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Several parents took a day off from work and stood at the help desks set up by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and various non-governmental organisations to submit an RTE application form for their children (2016-17 academic year) as the process was supposed to begin on Tuesday.

However, by the end of the day their effort went in vain as they were not able to submit the form as the portal for online applications was not opened until late Tuesday evening.

Helplines and help desks were flooded with calls and anxious parents had to be told to wait until the portal was opened. Kumar V., a salesman who works in Shivajinagar, said he had applied for leave and had come to apply for a seat. “They had said the portal would be open on Tuesday. Now, I will have to apply for another days’ leave to file an application,” he said.

The online application form was open briefly, which department officials claimed was a demo and parents and block-level officials assumed that the application forms were open, but later saw a message stating the portal would open at 4 p.m., which, however, opened only at 7 p.m.

No RTE seat in private unaided school

Many parents, who are vying for a seat in a “big” private school, were disappointed when they learnt that their ward had no private unaided school and had to apply to aided or government school.

Some of the wards or habitations that did not have private unaided schools include Arakere Colony, Begur, Budumanahalli, Hosahalli, Huskur, Gopalapura, Gangenahalli, and Veerasagara. From this year, if there is no private unaided school in the ward, parents are expected to apply to aided or government schools. Only when a ward or habitation does not have any school, can parents apply to neighbouring wards.

RTE Students and Parents’ Association general secretary B.N. Yogananda said many wards and habitations did not have any private schools were lower economic pockets. “What is the purpose of the 25 per cent reservation if those in the slums and lower economic pockets itself are unable to apply,” he said.

However, department officials argued they were trying to ensure that the concept of neighbourhood, which was central to the RTE Act, was implemented in spirit from the coming academic year.

After the long wait, many parents after entering their residential address found there were no schools in their wards and were asked them to submit a physical application to the BEO office. The Department of Public Instruction at 8 p.m. claimed to have received 189 applications in a span of an hour. Meanwhile, private school managements alleged that their school code for the RTE admissions had changed.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2018 9:04:13 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/day-wasted-as-online-rte-application-portal-opens-late/article8273584.ece