Lack of awareness, early admissions blamed for lukewarm response
There are no takers for 253 seats for pre-primary and class one in unaided schools under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) in Udupi district.
Though 1,003 seats (608 for LKG; 395 for first standard) were available in 71 unaided schools in the current academic year in unaided schools (excluding schools run by minority communities) in the district under the Act, the Block Education Officers (BEOs) in five education blocks had received only 750 applications.
According to Ashok Kamath, Education Officer in the Department of Public Instruction, as on June 5, 2013, nearly 500 students have been admitted. “The admission process is still under way and a clear picture will emerge in second week of June. Two BEOs are yet to submit their reports. The response is better than the last year,” he said.
In the last academic year 2012-13, 430 students had secured seats in 67 unaided schools under the RTE in the district, though a total of 1,098 seats were available.
Under the RTE, the Union and State Governments reimbursed the fee of the economically disadvantaged students joining either LKG (pre-primary) or first standard in unaided schools.
Three unaided schools in the district did not receive any application under the RTE Act this year. Mr. Kamath said the Prakarti School in Kantavar village had not received any application probably because it was situated in a slightly interior area. The Tauheed English Medium School at Kallianpur-Santhekatte and Ananteshwara School at Paniyadi in Udupi are the other schools that have not received applications.
Some of the reasons for the rather lukewarm response to avail seats under the RTE in the district are early admission process (started in the first week of February), lack of awareness, and the reputation of some government and aided schools.
Lack of awareness
“Many parents in the district start thinking about admissions in the month of May and not February as in metropolitan cities like Bangalore. Despite publicity, there is still lack of awareness about it,” Mr. Kamath said.
Udupi district has 619 Government and 225 aided schools. Some of these schools are century old. According to Mr. Kamath, as many as 10 government and 10 aided schools were over 100 years old. One aided school and three government schools heave crossed125 years, he said.
Many government and aided schools have established good reputation over the decades. They have quality infrastructure, good faculty which are on a par with the unaided schools. Some parents who studied in these schools want their children to study in them for sentimental reasons.
In some other places, availability of good quality aided and government schools in the neighbourhood might have discouraged parents from looking elsewhere.