For the 13,900 EWS seats in schools within PMC and PCMC limits, only 4,685 applications were received, which means over 9,000 EWS seats would go vacant in the current academic year. The education department has extended the admission deadline from January 31 to June, but activists see a bleak chance of the seats getting filled.
Data available with ZP officials show that for the 13,903 EWS seats in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad 9,730 forms were issued in PMC area, and 1,251 in PCMC area. Schools in Cantonment/ Haveli areas issued 1,186 forms.
Although forms issued increased this year, forms filled and received has risen by only 1,000. “Last year, 3,458 forms were received from all the three divisions. This time, PMC area alone recived 3,458 forms. Apart from this, 431 forms in PCMC area and 796 in Cantonment were received,” said a senior official. Officials claim to have done a lot to make EWS easier this year but activists say both the education department and schools are to blame for the poor response.
Matin Mujawar, President, Shikshan Hakka Manch, said, “Apart from one or two officers, the Education department has no inclination in implementing RTE fairly. All they did was put up notices and hold meetings with principals. What is the point when there is no follow-up by officials? The education department should have checked how the whole admission procedure is happening.”
“All the schools were reluctant in issuing forms under EWS quota. Some schools denied admission outright, and some issued forms only for a day. Even after complaining to ZP education officer many times, no action was taken,” added Mujawar. D Shendkar, education officer, Pune ZP, however, said, “This time, the performance has been good. We have asked schools to put up notices to inform parents. We have forwarded complaints against private schools to authorities concerned and they are inquiring into it. Since admission dates have been extended, we are sure the seats will be filled.”
Activists feel otherwise. “Schools we visited after January 31 said admission is over, which is wrong. The officials need to look into it and take action against these schools,” said Sonali Kunjir, Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat.
Offence against Sardar Dastur High School
police have registered an offence against the Sardar Dastur High School in Pune Camp area for allegedly not furnishing information to district education department authorities during an inspection to ensure implementation of the RTE Act. The offence was registered at Bund Garden police station by Kisan Dattoba Bhujbal (44), the extension officer at the education department of Pune Zilla Parishad. Cops have booked Anita Batra, H D Ghumat and other members of the school committee under sections 174, 175, 176, 186, 187, 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). According to the police, school authorities did not divulge details of fees taken from students, staff salary records and other information to the education authorities.