One-km radius norm comes in the way of filling RTE Act seats

Only 77% of seats earmarked under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, in matriculation and nursery schools have been filled in Madurai district after the end of the second round of admission process, reveals data obtained from the School Education department.

The RTE Act mandates private schools to set aside 25% of their entry-level seats for students from economically weaker sections of the society. While the first round of online application process was held between August 27 and September 25, the second round was held between October 12 and November 7.

A source from the School Education department said 158 matriculation and 284 primary and nursery schools in the district were eligible to earmark seats under the RTE Act. A total of 5,737 seats were earmarked for RTE Act in these schools. Out of them, 4,457 seats had been filled at the end of the second round of admission process. In 117 matriculation and 98 nursery and primary schools, all the earmarked seats had been filled.

Despite having completed two rounds of admission process, there were seats still left, said A. Veronica Mary, a child rights activist. The officials must make efforts to fill every seat, she said.

The norm that stipulates that the student must reside within one-km radius of the school was a major impediment that led to most of the rejection of applications, said an Education department source.

R. Charles, a volunteer who assisted parents in the online RTE application process, said if the one-km norm was removed, it would benefit so many students. “Now, only students in urban areas are able to get admission under the RTE Act. Those in rural areas are left out because there are hardly a few private schools within the one-km radius from their houses,” he said.

The delay in starting admissions of RTE seats also contributed in filling lower number of seats, said K. Hakkim, an activist of People’s Awareness Trust. “Many private schools had unofficially started admissions for this year from June and hence many underprivileged parents borrowed money to admit their children in private schools. However, the admissions under the RTE Act started only in August-end,” he said.

A School Education department official said there might be a third round of admissions for RTE seats in case there were many unfilled RTE seats in many districts of the State.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 2:48:07 PM |

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