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Right to Education Act fails to serve its purpose

The education department has once again failed to secure admissions under the Right to Education Act (RTE) in the private unaided schools of Ludhiana. Interestingly, the Act has been failing to serve its purpose since its inception five years back.

As per the consultant of the RTE Act, students can apply to the private unaided schools, only if they fail to secure admissions in the government schools. Under the Act, first preference is given to seats of government and the government aided schools. However, Daljeet Singh Cheema, education minister said that it is not mandatory to follow this policy.

In a move by the HRD minister to facilitate the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education in 2009, the Act provided for free elementary education in both government and private unaided schools. However, the private unaided schools have gone through a phase of almost ‘zero admission’ since 2009. The CBSE and ICSE affiliated schools have also been asked to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for the weaker sections of the society.

The principals of the CBSE affiliated schools confirmed that no one turns up for admission in the seats meant for the weaker sections. Students seeking admission under RTE initially have to get a written approval from the office of the Sarav Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

Harvinder Singh, a city based consultant said “According to the instructions of the state government, we have to fill seats of government and government aided schools. In case students don’t get admissions to theses schools, they can apply in private unaided schools” He also admitted that most parents do not want their children to get admitted in government aided schools.

The education minister explained the confusion and confirmed that no one is forced to get admission in government schools only under RTE and even the private unaided schools are required to reserve 25 per cent of their seats in the elementary section.

The education department is also planning to launch a 24 hour helpline program to receive suggestions and provide solutions.

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