How to get an RTE seat for a needy child in Bengaluru

It’s the school admission season. While many parents are busy admitting their wards to top schools in the city, there are parents from underprivileged sections who too would be aspiring to admit their kids to private schools. While the sky high fees in private unaided schools was a deterrent for these parents to not apply at such schools in the past, the Right To Education (RTE) Act introduced five years ago came as a ray of hope for many.

The mandate for every private school to allocate 25 per cent seats under the RTE Act for children from weaker sections and disadvantaged groups is a boon for an aspiring society that wants to cut past the problems in public education. If you know a child, may be of your help or driver or of any familiar person around, that has the eligibility to be admitted to a private school, then here is a guide that will help you understand how to go about it.

How does RTE Act help educate a child from underprivileged background?

The Right of Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 grants every child of the age of six to 14 the right to have free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till the completion of elementary education.

Which are the schools in which the child can seek admission?

Parents residing in a particular ward can seek admission to their children in any of the government schools, private aided or unaided RTE quota schools (excluding those with minority educational institutions status) in their ward or in the adjacent wards. In private unaided schools, the RTE quota is limited to 25 per cent of the total strength of a classroom.

Who can apply to an unaided private school under RTE Act?

A child whose parent’s or guardian’s annual income is less than Rs 3.5 lakh per annum is eligible to apply under the RTE Act.

What is the area limit within which the parent can avail the benefit of RTE quota while admitting his/her ward?

RTE Act is based on the concept of neighbourhood schooling. In a city like Bengaluru, the municipal ward is considered as a neighbourhood, hence a parent can apply for any number of schools (private aided or unaided) in the ward in which he/she lives. In case of rural area, the neighbourhood area is within one km from the area where the parent/child lives.

However, this year, in cities the Department of Public Instructions has decided to extend the neighbourhood concept to adjacent wards too. That is, a parent can apply under RTE to schools of the ward where they reside as well as to the schools in adjacent ward. During the seat allocation, preference is given to children residing in the same ward. Seats will be allocated to children from neighbouring wards, only if there are excess seats.

To how many schools can one child apply?

A child can apply to any number of schools in the neighbourhood. Seat allocation is based on the seat availability. Till last year a child was allowed to apply for only five schools, but the Department has removed the upper limit this year.

What is the age criteria for admitting the child?

Last year, the Karnataka government fixed the age for admitting children under RTE quota. Accordingly, a child in the age group of 3 years 10 months to 4 years 10 months is eligible to get admitted to LKG. And the age criteria for getting admission to 1st Std is 5 years 10 months to 6 years 10 months, as on 1st June of the academic year (2017-18).

How is the quota split among various categories of students?

The Act mandates every unaided school (except those with minority institution tag) to earmark at least 25 per cent of the strength of the entry class for the RTE quota. Of 25 per cent of the seats, 7.5 per cent of seats are reserved for children belonging to Scheduled Caste, 1.5 per cent for children belonging to Scheduled Tribe. The remaining 16 per cent of seats is provided to children to belonging to other categories. If the SC & ST quota remains unfilled, then it will be added to remaining categories of children belonging to disadvantaged group and vice versa. 

Where is the list of neighbourhood schools under the RTE Act available?

The Department of Public Instructions has published the list of neighbourhood schools. Check it here by entering the pincode of your area.

What is the process of admission to RTE quota schools?

The Department of Primary and Secondary Education calls for online applications from parents to apply under RTE quota in the month of February every year. This year, though the Department had initially declared of opening online application on January 15th, there has been delay in the process due to technical glitches.

When will the online application process begin?

The online application process has begun on March 1st, 2017. It will last for a month. March 31st is the last date for filing applications.

What is the mode of application? What basic info and documents parents should submit?

Applications should be filed online through the Department’s website. This year the Department says it has made arrangements in the offices of Block Education Officers, Bangalore One Centres and Atal Janasnehi Kendras for parents to file online application. This apart, parents can also submit online application in cyber cafes. RTE Students and Parents Association too has set up free online application centres. There are 34 online centres operated by the Parents Association in Bengaluru.

Apart from filling the basic information online, the applicant should submit income certificate (not applicable to SC/ST candidates) and proof of residence for the purpose of establishing place of residence of parents. Residential proof should be either EPIC card or Aadhaar card or Aadhaar acknowledgement slip. Parents belonging to SC or ST community should submit caste certificate.

Parents also need to submit birth certificate of the child, or a record given by anganwadi worker or Auxiliary Midwife or a self attested affidavit, as a proof of child’s age.

Is it mandatory for kids availing RTE quota to have Aadhaar number?

This year, the State government has made it mandatory for the kids and parents seeking admission to have enrolled under Aadhaar. Parents, while filing online application have to provide Aadhaar details of the child as well as one of the parents. The Department will verify the Aadhaar number and biometric information with UIDAI and get it confirmed. This, according to the Education Department, will help in de-duplication of applications.

What next after the online application is filed?

Once the deadline for submitting application expires, the Department will scrutinise the applications and SMSes will be sent to parents if there are errors in applications. They shall rectify the errors online or through the jurisdictional Block Education Officer before the prescribed date. Later, the list of eligible candidates will be generated online.

On what grounds can an application be rejected?

An application can be rejected if the income ceiling of the parent exceeds the limit, or if there are errors in the information provided during application.

Can public file objections to the list of eligible students published by the department?

Yes. The department provides a time frame for filing objections. If the objection submitted is valid, the Department will make the correction and publish the same on the website.

How to file complaints related to RTE admission?

This year, the Department had made RTE complaint systyem online. Parents can visit this link and file a complaint. The Department has assured of addressing each of these complaints.

What after the list of eligible candidates is out?

The next procedure is selecting children through lottery system.This happens only if the number of application exceeds the number of seats available. Lottery will take place online and students who are lucky enough will get through. After the third round of lottery, final list of candidates will be announced and admission to schools will begin in March.

How much fee should a parent pay for the child admitted under RTE quota?

The parent need not pay any fee or donation to the school however prestigious or expensive the school is. The State government will reimburse a fixed amount of fee in installments to respective schools against submission of admission records.

But, if the school asks for extra fee to provide facilities that help integrate RTE children with other children, such as shoes, socks, uniform etc, whether to pay it or not is a call the parents have to take.

Is there a helpline to reach out to get information about RTE admission procedure?

The Education Department is yet to open the helpline. However, RTE Students and Parents Association has opened a helpline for parents seeking seats under RTE in Karnataka. Call – 7022422495.

Note: Citizen Matters will update the guide as and when the Department of Public Instructions launches the online application process for RTE admission.
Also read:
>> Demand for RTE is increasing but schools are not too keen
>> Aadhaar compulsory for RTE admissions, but no system to check complaints

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Aadhaar compulsory for RTE admissions, but no system to check complaints
Demand high but schools not keen: The story of Right to Education in Bengaluru

Akshatha M
About Akshatha M 220 Articles
Akshatha M was a Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters. She tweets at @akshata1.

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