RTE mixed bag, some hits & many misses
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The year 2012 saw people from the weaker strata of society getting a chance to give their children elementary education enjoyed by children from prosperous families, that too in the best of schools.
After the April 2012 Supreme Court Judgment upholding the Constitutional validity of children getting free and compulsory education under the Right To Education (RTE), parents and activists in Pune stepped up efforts to make sure poor and deserving kids made most of the 25 per cent quota reserved in private schools for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
Although the move met with resistance from private schools, almost 50 per cent of the EWS seats in private schools in the city were filled and given the short notice at which EWS admissions were conducted and the confusion that prevailed during the process due to newness of the concept and the provisions, the numbers are not disappointing at all.
However, there's is a long way to go. In 2012, of the 7,361 seats reserved in 373 private schools in the PMC limits only around 3,500 were filled.
Interestingly, all the 202 schools that carried out the EWS admission are English medium private schools.
Thus all the over 3,000 EWS seats in Marathi medium schools remained vacant raising concerns about the impact of RTE on Marathi medium schools.
On the infrastructural part, the situation is grimmer. At the end of 2012, as many as 98.5 per cent schools in the district did not comply with infrastructure standards set by RTE.
Only 92 schools in the district passes all 10 infrastructure indicators set by RTE. Alarmingly 49 schools do not have a building at all. Education Expert Ramesh Panse blamed the monitoring authorities and the state government for 'haphazard' implementation of the Act.
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