WITH LESS than 50 per cent students being given admission under the reserved quota for the Economically-Weaker Section (EWS) under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the organisations, working in the field of RTE admissions, are blaming such a situation on schools for refusing admissions on some pretext or the other. In the first round of admissions, of the 13,243 seats, a little over 5,600 students have confirmed their seats. While according to education officials, the trend for last few years have remained more or less the same with close to 40-50 per cent EWS quota seats going empty, the activists said this year, the problem was mostly with the schools that were given the right to verify documents for the first year.
“The RTE Act mentions that the parent has to furnish the income certificate from appropriate government authority at the time of admission to verify that the family income does not exceed Rs 1 lakh. However, there is no mention anywhere that the person has to furnish a proof of the same city where they are currently residing. In terms of RTE quota seats, many parents come from rural areas who have migrated to cities in search of work. They have income certificates of their taluka or district level and naturally cannot produce the same here but schools are refusing to accept these documents. We pointed this out to education officials even before the process started that such a problem could arise,” said Mukund Kirdat, education activist from AAP.
One of the parents, Mahadik Appa who hails from Solapur, said that he had furnished an income certificate at the school where he was allotted admission which he visited on the first day itself. “But they told me this is not valid as I could be earning much more than the said amount here in the city. So they asked me to get an income certificate from Pune district collectorate. But later after I showed them the government rules that no such thing is required, they gave me admission. It is sad that schools are doing this and unfortunately not all parents are aware of rules. I could argue and get the admission done but what about others?” he asked.
Not just this but allegations are being made that schools are asking parents of students from other backward castes (OBC), scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to also furnish income certificates. This, despite the fact, that the RTE Act exempts those furnishing caste certificate to produce income certificate.
A parent, Abhijeet Shinde, said that he was asked to furnish the document. “I am from Solapur and belong to the Scheduled Caste. I went to the school with all the relevant documents and my caste certificate but they asked me to get the income certificate,” he said.
Santosh Shinde, district president of Sambhaji Brigade who led a delegation of such parents to the education department two days ago, claimed there are many such cases. “What schools are doing is totally illegal. They ask for all kinds of irrelevant documents and stall the admissions by making parents run around. Later, the last date for admission lapses and they show students as rejected or not reported. The education department must take action on this,” he demanded.
Meanwhile, looking at the number of complaints coming in from parents, especially related to the income certificates issue, education officials issued an official clarification on Monday in this regard.
Issued by Govind Nandede, director of primary education, Maharashtra, the letter clearly states that the income certificate to be produced by parents at the time of admission can be issued in any district across the state. “However, the income certificate has to be issued by tehsildar or similar level government officer. For those parents who are living and taking admission in another city, while the income certificate is issued from another area-say a village or district, they would have to submit an affidavit to state that the joint income that they are earning in that place and the income they earn in their village does not exceed Rs 1 lakh. Also, if the information on affidavit is found to be false, then the admission would get cancelled,” said Nandede.