BENGALURU: Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar seems to have been caught on the wrong foot after he issued a recommendation letter to a parent seeking a school seat for his ward under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
As per the documents available with Express, the minister wrote a recommendation letter favouring one Venkatesh, who was seeking admission for his child into Class 1 at a city school under RTE.
The letter reads, “M Venkatesh, No 40, 3rd Cross, Choluru Palya, Magadi Road, Bengaluru-23 has applied for a seat under RTE Act for his son Riteshwar C V for Class 1. They have applied at East West Academy School, Shivanagar. So, requesting (you) to provide them seat as per the norms.” A copy of the letter has been marked to the Block Education Officer of that ward.
However, when Express visited the address given by the parent, it was found that no individual by the name Venkatesh lived there.
When Express contacted, the minister said, “I issue 500 such recommendation letters per day... that is not to influence the authorities or to violate the norms. It is just to pacify parents.”
But several RTE activists are questioning how a minister can issue a recommendation letter for a seat that comes under reservation. Nagasimha G Rao, state convener, RTE task force, said, “If the minister is saying that he is issuing letters to pacify parents, then what about the complaints? Are they receiving complaints against schools regarding RTE just to pacify parents?”
“As the RTE seat comes under reservation, there is no provision to exert influence. When the minister issues such letters, pressure will naturally build on the Block Education Officers and the schools. And the authorities concerned take the letter seriously and try to admit the child,” he added.