More than 29,000 children ‘disappeared’from RTE quota over last eight years

43,626 were admitted under it for class 1 in 2012

In the first year that the RTE Act was implemented in Karnataka in 2012, as many as 43,626 students were admitted under the 25% reservation quota for class one in private unaided schools. Eight years on, only 13,910 of them are availing themselves of this benefit.

As many as 29,716 among these children are no longer under the quota, according to records of the Department of Public Instruction. This is for a variety of reasons, including parents being unable to afford fee for “extracurricular activities” that schools allegedly demand.

While many are no longer under the quota, others were unable to access education in these private schools till class eight as they did not have upper primary classes. Other reasons cited include schools being shut down and parents relocating. According to department rules, reservation under the quota can be availed of only in the school where the child has been admitted. Surprisingly, the department has also found a few instances where students who were initially admitted under the RTE quota later migrating to non-RTE quota in the same school.

The State government reimburses the fees to private schools for every child from weaker sections and disadvantaged communities admitted under the RTE quota. The per-child expenditure is currently capped at ₹8,000 for pre-primary and ₹16,000 for primary classes.

B.N. Yogananda, general secretary, RTE Students’ and Parents’ Association, said a large number of parents pulled their children out as they could not afford to pay the “extra fees” demanded by school managements for books, uniforms, smart classes, and other extracurricular activities.

Although the department on paper tells us that schools cannot collect any fees for the RTE students besides for books and uniform, the reality is far from it,” he said. Parents even alleged that the extra fees collected by school were in the range of ₹5,000 to ₹50,000 a year in some instances. Rishikesh B.S., associate professor, Azim Premji University, said very few private schools had implemented the reservation quota in spirit and had taken steps to bridge the socio-cultural gap between students admitted under the quota and the rest. “While many private school managements evaded admitting students under the quota by claiming minority status, many other schools pushed students out by charging extra fees,” he said.

Source: Read Full Article