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Education equality delayed | J&K SED drags feet on Section 12 implementation of RTE Act

01:22 AM Feb 06, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
education equality delayed   j k sed drags feet on section 12 implementation of rte act
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Srinagar, Feb 5: The Jammu and Kashmir School Education Department (SED) is yet to start admission of students in private unaided schools under section 12 (1) C of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

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The department has delayed the implementation of Section 12 of the RTE Act despite the passage of over three years since the act became applicable in J&K.

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Post abrogation of Article 370, all central laws became applicable in J&K which were implemented by the J&K administration as well.

However, J&K has yet to implement Section 12 of the RTE Act in private schools.

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Notably, Section 12 (1) (c) of the RTE Act, 2009, fixes the responsibility of private schools to provide free and compulsory education to children from weaker and disadvantaged sections by admitting at least one-fourth of the total strength of class 1st primary or kindergarten section of schools.

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The issue has once again come to limelight as the private schools across Kashmir are set to start the admission process of students for kindergarten.

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As per the official document, the RTE Act, 2009, defined the responsibility of private schools to include children from backwards and disadvantaged sections of society to bring parity and equality of opportunity for all children to again quality education.

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“Section 12 (1) (C) of the act is a step forward to provide opportunities for children from diverse social and economic backgrounds to study together in a universal environment," the official document reads.

Notably, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) last year directed all the private schools functioning in Kashmir to provide free education to children from weaker and disadvantaged sections.

The schools were asked to keep a 25 percent reserved quota for students who belong to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).

“As per Section 12 (1)C of the RTE Act, the private schools have the responsibility to dispense and provide free education to such children and admit at least one-fourth (25 percent) of the total strength of class 1st primary or pre-school education,” reads an official communication addressed to all Chief Education Officers (CEOs).

The communication was issued to CEOs last year. The RTE Act, 2009, became applicable in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370 from the constitution of India and the reorganisation of J&K into a Union Territory. The applicability of the act in J&K has given many hopes to children from weaker sections to get education from top-notch private schools which otherwise remain out of bounds for these children.

An official said that all the private schools will have to keep 25 percent of admissions reserved for children from EWS wherein Samagra Shiksha would reimburse the expenditure incurred on the education of the students enrolled in those private schools which are not established on State land.

“The schools established on state land have to provide 25 percent admission to EWS children but they will not get any compensation from the government for this,” the official said.

However, to date, the department has not implemented Section 12 of the act to benefit the children from EWS.

Recently, the J&K SED while presenting its presentation before the Union Ministry of Education (MoE) admitted that J&K is yet to start admission in private unaided schools under Section 12 (1)(C) of the RTE Act.

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