RTE: Ensure seats don’t go vacant in school, activists urge minister

Ranchi: A joint delegation of Right to Education Campaign on Friday submitted a memorandum to the state education minister Jagarnath Mahto to discuss and demand free admissions for underprivileged children in private schools as mandated in the Section 12 (1) (c) of Right to Education Act in the next academic session.

Through their memorandum, they stated that their recent surveys and groundwork in Jharkhand have presented troubling ground realities regarding the implementation of the RTE Act especially section – 12 (1) (c) in the state.

“Even after 10 years, the implementation of this very act, it remains full of hiccups and issues resulting in the majority of the seats remaining vacant every year and children being deprived of their rights,” they said.

Their cited that the RTI reply and government data procured by them in the past revealed high percentage of vacant seats across the state is high and in Ranchi, the state capital, the situation was even worse in the year of 2019-20.

With the admission process for the next session to start, the delegation of demanded that no seat under the RTE Act goes empty. Urging the minister, they demanded that the application process must be shifted online to an integrated state system with proper tracking mechanisms, like in the case of most other states. Physical submission of forms should be completely eliminated.

“The government must organise camps in each ward office and slums to spread awareness about the provision of the Act, procedure of application and the documents to be appended with the application form. The camps must assist people by informing them where and how documents can be procured. At present, applications are submitted by guardians directly to the school. This has given the school discretionary power to reject applications without any just cause. Instead, it will be preferable if all applications are submitted and verified by the DSE office so that schools do not reject them on an arbitrary basis,” the demanded, adding that a transparent public lottery must be conducted if applications are greater than the number of seats.

“A grievances redressal officer must be announced to take complaints of fraudulent practices or misbehaviour by schools,” the pleaded.