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Chandigarh's RTE confusion delays admission process

Wednesday January 05, 2011 08:26:40 AM, Alkesh Sharma, IANS

Chandigarh: Confusion prevails here over implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act and activists are accusing private school managements of back-pedalling on flimsy grounds for fear of losing their elitist tags. This has delayed the admission process in various city schools.

The Chandigarh administration, the private schools association, social activists and parents are still debating the provisions of the RTE Act. There has been no consensus so far.

The RTE Act makes it mandatory for every child in the 6-14 age group to get at least eight years of elementary education in a neighbourhood school from the 2011-12 academic year. Private schools in Chandigarh say that they are ready to adopt the RTE provisions, but they are not clear about some its proposals.

"There is no problem with the implementation of the RTE Act in city schools. In fact, we want it in its true spirit without any glitch. We also want to ensure that no doubt or confusion exists. Otherwise the whole purpose will be lost," H.S. Mamik, president of the Independent Schools' Association in Chandigarh, told IANS.

"We have some important queries about the implementation of this act. Therefore we have requested the administration to ask an expert to first answer these doubts," said Mamik.

As per the act, all private schools will be required to reserve 25 percent seats for children from weaker sections and disadvantaged communities. No seats in this quota can be left vacant and selection will be made randomly through the draw of lots.

The cost of these students will be borne by the state at the rate followed in government schools, unless it is lesser in the private school.

However, social activists here say there is a lobby of some upscale private schools that is colluding with the Chandigarh administration to deliberately delay implementation of the RTE Act.

"Resistance and opposition to the proposed norms by private schools is a reflection of class war. Despite parliament passing the law, the greedy education mafia, supported by some greedy government officials, is doing everything to block it," social activist Hemant Goswami, representative of city-based NGO Burning Brain Society, told IANS.

He added: "There is a lobby of private schools patronised by some senior IAS officers. They want to delay this act by another one year. They are robbing common people in the name of quality education by charging hefty capitation fees, commission on purchase of books, uniforms and other material and developing their brand by promoting discrimination among classes."

There are over 55 private and around 110 government schools in Chandigarh.

Ram Niwas, Chandigarh's education-cum-home secretary, told IANS: "We want early implementation of the RTE Act. We are open for discussions and ready to answer any query regarding the provisions of this act."

"All private schools have to adhere to this act. Some schools feel insecure and they are afraid of losing money. We cannot allow them to make education a money-minting business and they have to carry out the entire admission process in the most transparent manner," Niwas stated.

The RTE Act, which was notified April 1, 2010, mainly aims at bringing children of the marginalised sections of society into the ambit of school education. It will ensure that all schools and teachers meet specified norms and that all children receive schooling of reasonable quality, free from any form of discrimination.

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at






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