Residents of Mylapur slums in Chennai, India, are totally unaware of 25% reservation under RTE.
The residents of Mylapur slum, the biggest in Chennai, India are still unaware of the benefits of the Right to Education Act, 2009. These people do not know that 25% of the seats in private schools are reserved for children belonging to the disadvantaged group and the weaker sections of the society.
The Right to Education bill was passed in August, 2009 however, it came into force on April 2010. The bill was designed to emphasise on the fact that every child has a right to free and compulsory education in India.
This act has several path-breaking clauses. According to The Indian Express, one of them under section 12(1) (c) states that:
“(private schools) shall admit in class 1 (or pre-primary), to the extent of at least twenty-five per cent of the strength of that class children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood and provide free and compulsory education till its completion.”
On a visit to Pallaku Managar, Mylapur, our team was shocked to hear that none of the people actually are availing benefits from the scheme which will open at least one million seats each year in unaided private schools for children belonging to poor families.
Mr Kumaravel(37) and his wife Mrs K. Bhavani(32), residents of Mylapur, say that they have received no such benefit. Their household income being ten thousand rupees a month made it difficult to educate their three children and carry out household activities. On interviewing them in a one room set, sitting on the floor, I could imagine how difficult it must be for them to make their ends meet.
They told us that nobody in the area has any idea of the reservation. Kumaravel says that “We are paying for our three children who study in a nearby private English medium school. We were not aware of such a scheme”.
Interview of Kumaravel and K.Bhavani, residents of Mylapur slums.
According to reports of The Indian Express, a circular was sent by the Department of Matriculation to all schools under it in April, it was pointed out that about 60 per cent of the seats under the quota remained vacant last year. It pointed that out of the 58,619 seats in 3,550 schools in the State; only 23,248 seats were filled last year. The number of schools that participated was as low as 2,600. Activists blamed the department’s negligence for the vacant seats saying that the poor hardly knew of the quota.
There is a sudden need to establish awareness campaigns regarding the same so that the disadvantaged group benefits from what is reserved for them.