The filing of online application for 5,614 seats reserved under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, in 434 private schools in Madurai district began on Monday.
According to the RTE Act, private schools have to set aside 25% of their entry-level seats for students from economically weaker sections of the society. An official from the school education department said that parents can file RTE seats applications till August 3.
Several volunteers from Students’ Federation of India, Democratic Youth Federation of India and People’s Awareness Trust, are creating awareness about the RTE seats and helping parents fill the online application for RTE seats.
However, volunteers highlight several issues while filing online applications.
While the website shows schools that have seats reserved under the RTE Act, there is no mention of the number of seats available in each school, said K. Hakkim, an activist from the People’s Awareness Trust. “Until last year, the information on the number of seats reserved in each school was available for the public. But, it is only this year that this information is not available for the public,” he said.
Mr. Hakkim alleged that many private schools reserve a lower number of seats under the RTE Act as compared to their actual strength. “Hence, it becomes very important to publicly list the available number of seats in each school on the website,” he added.
R. Charles, a volunteer who assisted parents in filing the online RTE applications, said that the rule permitting parents to apply for schools within one kilometre radius from their residences was disadvantageous for rural students. “In rural areas, there are hardly any private schools within one-km radius from the residences of the students,” he added.
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