Almost all private schools have failed to advertise seats reserved for students from economically weaker sections under the RTE Act. They merely put up notices on school display boards, which are out of bounds for parents of BPL children.
A meet, jointly convened by Oxfam and Jharkhand Right to Education Forum at a capital hotel on Friday to urge principals of private schools to honour the 25 per cent reservation clause, brought to the fore several loopholes that act as hurdles in implementation of the act. Principals of seven schools and members of civil societies were present. The chief guest was deputy mayor Ajay Nath Shahdeo.
Binay Pattanayak, education specialist of Unicef, Jharkhand, pointed out that 25 per cent was not just a figure. The reservation can serve more purposes. "Once weak, poor children are admitted in private schools, they will usher in a different kind of academic environment. Inclusive education is very important as the classroom becomes a mini India because of the children's diverse backgrounds," he added.
On the principals' claim that there was very poor response from the targeted beneficiaries, Ajay Srivasatava, co-ordinator of CINI, said: "Until and unless they generate awareness at their own level, it's not possible for people to know that the schools have seats for their wards."
The state government has assured all schools that all expenses would be reimbursed, but the authorities are not taking the matter seriously."
The arguments and counter-arguments notwithstanding, the meet ended on a positive note, with the principals promising to look into the matter and try their best to honour the RTE provisions.