Even as doubts are being raised on the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 150 children of waste pickers from Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad have shown the way. With the help of the education board, they have enrolled into private schools under the 25% quota for economically weaker sections (EWS).
The Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), a registered trade union of waste pickers, post an awareness programme in January, got their members to have their children or grandchildren registered for admission to schools through the RTE Act. KKPKP members, along with the Education Board (Shikshan Mandal), got the cooperation of nine schools from Pimpri-Chinchwad area and 23 schools in Pune city area.
“The education officers were more than helpful when we expressed our desire to have our members benefit from the provision. KKPKP members only aspired to have their children or grandchildren admitted to these schools but had their apprehensions. However, post the workshop early in January, they were more aware of the benefits. The numbers slowly increased from 60 to 150,’’ said KKPKP general secretary Laxmi Narayan.
For Dhrupadi Sukale, a worker with KKPKP, it was a dream come true when her grandson got into a private school under the RTE Act. With the help of KKPKP and the Shikshan Mandal, the child was recently admitted to Class I of Shriram Rajya school in Kondhwa area.
Vimal Shirsagar’s aunt who works with KKPKP got his son admitted to DAV School at Aundh early this week. “We are happy my son got into such a good school. The process was very smooth,’’ said Shirsagar.
Describing her experience of interacting with her son’s teacher, Lata Shankar Kakde said her child was teased for his name but the issue was soon sorted out by the teacher. “The response was very encouraging,’’ said Kakde.
Very few had got admission last year. Education board officials said they were happy to help KKPKP. “When members of KKPKP approached us, we explained to them benefits of the Act and gave them a list of schools. Having formed areawise committees for monitoring, we made sure our squad attended to complaints. We have directed schools to follow the 25% reservation and if they have not filled the seats, keep them vacant until they get the requisite candidates,’’ said Parag Mundhe, assistant administrative officer of the School Education Board.