GUWAHATI, March 31 - Despite the Right to Education (RTE) Act mandating 25 per cent reservation for children from disadvantaged families in private schools, not a single school in Assam has till date adhered to it, making mockery of the ambitious Central legislation.
This act of depriving the needy children of their due is happening at a time when �quality education� has gone out of the reach of the common man due to skyrocketing tuition fee in private schools.
�The government does not have any record vis-�-vis the rule to absorb 25 per cent students from disadvantaged background in any private schools, as enshrined in the RTE Act that vouches for inclusive education,� official sources told The Assam Tribune.
While most private schools, for obvious reasons, are doing least to make people aware of the RTE Act provisions, with a few even contending that there are not enough parents approaching them, the State government too is not bothering to do its bit.
Significantly, the government has neither defined the term �poor� and �disadvantaged� to facilitate the process of ensuing admissions for needy children in private schools, nor has it put in place any mechanism to check the compliance level by the schools in any form.
The RTE Act, which was enacted in 2009, requires private schools to admit at least 25 per cent students from the weaker section of the society in Class 1 and offer them free education.
The State government, as per the law, is also directed to reimburse a certain amount of money to the schools against each student.
On the contrary, the education department does not even have any up-to-date data on private schools and the number of available seats available in them.
�For anybody to implement the RTE provisions vis-�-vis admission of poor children, the department must know the seats available in a particular school. Further, it should also have a helpline number for parents to register their queries and grievances,� opined a legal expert without wishing to be named.
�There is a lot of exercise that goes into it, including checking the actual socio-economic status of the student and things that needs to be done during pre- and post-admission period. In a nutshell, the awareness level about the Central Act is worryingly low,� he said.