BENGALURU: There are no takers for nearly 36% of RTE seats in private aided and unaided schools even as the April 8 deadline for applications draws close. Data from the department of education on Tuesday showed there were 8,980 applicants for the 14,036 seats available this year. Education districts such as Uttara Kannada, Madhugiri, Kodagu, Bidar, Chamarajanagar and Dakshina Kannada had the fewest number of applications for RTE seats, with Uttara Kannada having just one applicant for the 11 RTE seats available in the district.
The education district of Bengaluru South had more applications than the number of seats available. There were 2,179 applicants for 734 seats. Similarly, Mysuru had 1,186 applications for 733 seats. Districts such as Bengaluru North, Chikkam-agaluru, and Dharwad, had applicants for over 90 percent of the number of available seats.
Educationist Niranjanaradhya V P weighed the drop in applicants for RTE seats against the increase in the number of students enrolling in government schools due to pandemic-induced economic difficulties. “Parents may be thinking it is better to send their children to government and aided schools. Parents may look at admission in private schools as a burden. The economic capacity of several parents was effected in a serious way,” he told TNIE.
There may be other reasons too, he said. “The government has taken concrete measures towards infrastructure development -- such as Karnataka Public Schools. Hence, with comparatively good government schools with facilities, infrastructure, and teachers, may have caused a reduction in RTE applicants,” he added.
The number of applications for RTE seats fell by 38% in 2020-21 from the previous year. In the upcoming academic year too a shortfall is likely. The number of applications in 2021-22 fell by 22% from the preceding year. The number of RTE seats in 2021-22 fell by 3,417 from 2020-21.Commissioner for Public Instruction Anbu Kumar said that measures such as informing the public via newspapers and opening call centres had helped several parents apply.
Although the number of RTE applicants had reduced, Kumar said that there were fewer students who were ‘out of school’ this year. “There has been no great reduction in admissions this year. To ensure that migrant students enrolled, we followed up with those who migrated within the state. Schools were told to admit the students to whatever class they were eligible. Admissions for the current year too were extended to March 30,” he said.