RTE Amendment Sparks Controversy: No Admission for EWS Students in English-Medium Pvt Schools

In a significant development, changes to the Right to Education Act (RTE) have stirred controversy as economically and socially backward students may face barriers to admission in English-medium private schools in the upcoming academic year. The amendment, released by the state’s school education department, has ignited dissatisfaction among parents who argue that this modification denies low-income pupils access to quality education.

According to a spokesperson from the Parents’ Association, the elimination of RTE by the state government impedes the pathway for economically weaker students to secure a spot in high-quality English-medium schools. Allegations suggest that private schools have been burdened with substantial overdue fees by the government, leading to an unjust situation for lakhs of students. The discontent extends to the school management, which is perceived as the sole beneficiary of the new order, while students bear the brunt of the consequences.

The amended Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE) in Maharashtra outlines that starting from the 2024–2025 academic year, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds will be ineligible for admission to private schools. The alteration, published in the department gazette on Thursday, has triggered widespread concern and calls for a reevaluation of the policy.

Under the amended RTE, if a government or government-aided school is available within a one-kilometer radius of a disadvantaged child’s home, the child will not qualify for admission under the 25% RTE quota in an unaided school in the vicinity. This implies that children from economically weaker sections will no longer have the option to enroll in private schools with English-speaking curricula.

As the controversy unfolds, parents and advocacy groups are mobilizing to voice their concerns, urging authorities to reconsider the impact of the RTE amendment on the educational prospects of economically disadvantaged students.

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