Mumbai: 60 private schools refuse admission under RTE

THE EDUCATION department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has sent notices to around 60 private schools that were refusing to admit students under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. Amid a logjam between private schools and the state government over pending dues, the BMC has written to the schools that the civic body would initiate the process for cancelling the registration of the school if it is found denying admission to students under the RTE quota.

In the notice issued Tuesday, the education department of the civic body informed the schools that pending dues would be credited to the schools’ accounts at the earliest. Mahesh Palkar, education officer of BMC, said, “We have received Rs 6.43 crore from the government to disburse to the schools towards their expenses for admitting students under the RTE quota. In the notice, we have requested schools to start admitting students as the amounts will be credited to them at the earliest.”

Private and unaided schools in the state have been protesting against the state government by denying admissions to students allotted seats under the RTE Act. The schools have said that the state had not paid them for the expenses of giving free education to students admitted under the quota. According to RTE Act, which came into force in 2009, 25 per cent seats in private and unaided schools are reserved for children from economically weaker sections (EWS). The students admitted to these seats receive free education and the government compensates schools for the expenses borne.

However, schools in the state have said they haven’t received dues from the state government in the past five years. They have now moved court to recover their dues. SC Kedia, convenor of the Unaided Schools Forum, said that the dues were to the tune of Rs 500-600 crore and the amount recently released by the government was too little.

“The BMC is trying to threaten schools into admitting students. This is unfair and wrong. A case is going on in the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court in which the judges have said clearly that no action can be taken against the schools for denying admission until the case reaches a judgment,” said Bharat Malik, convenor of the Federation of Schools Association in Maharashtra. Malik said instead of threatening the schools, the government should try to solve the problem through dialogue.