The Karnataka Private Schools Joint Action Committee (KAPJAC) has dropped plans of going on a protest from mid-January, claiming that the government had conceded their demands, including lowering the income criterion for Right to Education quota admissions and changing the definition of “neighbourhood school”.
KAPJAC chairman L.R. Shivaramegowda said, after a meeting with Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, that the Minister had “given direction for immediate implementation” of lowering the income limit for RTE quota admissions for underprivileged children from Rs. 3.5 lakh to Rs. 1 lakh. He had also agreed to change the definition of “neighbourhood” to one km radius for primary schools.
A school within a ward is currently considered a “neighbourhood” school.
Speaking to The Hindu, the Minister, however, said that the proposals of KAP JAP were “under consideration”. “We have not taken a decision yet on these issues, which need to be further discussed. We are open minded on this issue,” the Minister said.
Mr. Shivaramegowda said that the Minister had agreed to the formation of a committee to look into all RTE matters, naming Block Education Officer (BEO) as the nodal officer who will collect all information from schools once a year.
“The Minister has also assured to write to the Home Department regarding security measures for schools, teachers and property,” he said.
An official in the department said that redefining neighbourhood or changing income criterion at this point in time, when the process of RTE admissions have begun, can be extremely tricky. “There has been no official communication to the department from the minister so far,” he said.