RTE ACT (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Governance)

News-CRUX-10     27th February 2024        

Context: Maharashtra Recently became the latest state to dilute private schools' obligations under The Right Of Children To Free And Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act).

The Rule

  • About: The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has introduced an amendment stating that private unaided schools within a 1km radius of government or aided schools will not be obligated to allocate 25 percent of their admissions to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections.
  • Priority Admission to Government or Aided Schools: Instead, students residing in these neighborhoods will be given priority for admission to nearby government or aided schools, effectively bypassing the quota system in private schools.
  • Extension to Future Private Schools: This exemption will also extend to private schools established in the future, as long as they fall within a one-kilometer radius of a government or aided school, aligning with the intent to prioritize government or aided school admissions for local students.
  • Maharashtra's Alignment with Karnataka and Kerala: With this amendment, Maharashtra joins Karnataka and Kerala in granting exemptions to private schools from the RTE (Right to Education) admissions provision, reflecting a trend among certain states in India.
  • Reference to Karnataka and Kerala Rules: Karnataka first implemented a similar rule in December 2018, referencing the Kerala rules established in 2011, which allow fee concessions for RTE quota students only if there are no government or aided schools within a one-kilometer radius for students entering Class 1.

Rationale Behind the Rule

  • Drop in Enrolment in Government Schools: Karnataka's law minister highlighted the decline in government school enrolment due to parents preferring private schools even when government schools are available nearby.
  • Failure to Reimburse RTE Quota Fees: States have reportedly failed to reimburse private schools for students admitted through the RTE quota, as mandated by Section 12(2) of the RTE Act.
  • Divergent Responses to the Moves: Private unaided schools, like the Independent English Schools' Association in Maharashtra, support the new rules, anticipating a reduction in RTE admissions and an increase in government school enrollments.

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