‘Poor little rich’ kids thriving on RTE
AHMEDABAD: Vipul Shah, a labour contractor, lives in a two-storeyed bungalow in Bapunagar. His twin sons recently got admission in a prestigious school under the Right to Education (RTE) Act — a law that reserves 25% of the seats in private schools for children from poor and underprivileged sections of society.
Shah had attached his ‘BPL card’ with the application but verification by the school clerk revealed that he had a big house that betrayed little sign of poverty.
Meghaninagar-resident Vivek Joshi, the employee of a private firm, had got his daughter admitted under the RTE Act in the same school. He has attached the BPL card of his father, a retired bank employee, as proof of their ‘poverty’. He had also submitted a certificate claiming that his salary was a meagre Rs 48,000 per annum (i.e. Rs4,000 per month). However, physical verification by the school authorities revealed that Joshi’s residence was a big house with a large LCD TV adorning a wall. A maid was also employed for household chores!
These are glimpses of the ‘garib crorepatis’ against whom the Gujarat high court had recently issued a warning. They are those who use fake income documents to get their kids admitted under RTE quota and, thereby, usurp the rights of poor children.
Only children of parents whose income is less than Rs 68,000 per annum (in citie) and Rs 48,000 (in villages) are entitled to admission in schools under RTE. Sources in the state education department said that at least 10% of RTE admissions in Gujarat may have been secured on the basis of false documents.
District Education Officer (DEO) of Ahmedabad city, AK Rathod, said many school authorities had verbally complained to them about moneyed people, including those living in bungalows and having cars, had got admission for their kids under the RTE Act. “We have asked the school authorities to submit written complaints for further investigation and action,” said Rathod.
School administrations say they stumble upon these “fake poor” when they check the veracity of the documents submitted for RTE admissions.
“We got a parent who came in a BMW and had an expensive mobile phone. He asked his son to be admitted under RTE as he had a BPL card. We refused him admission,” said Ruchi Chowdhary, principal of Divine Child School.
State education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma said he had directed all DEOs and District Primary Education Officer (DPEO) to probe complaints and cancel admission of students whose parents had faked their financial status.
DPEO to probe school’s complaint
AHMEDABAD: The District Primary Education Office (DPEO) has instituted an inquiry into a complaint of ‘fake poor’ taking admission under RTE Act. The complaint was forwarded to the DPEO by the principal of Maharaja Agrasen Vidyalaya.
DPEO Prafull Jhalu said that Memnagar-resident Chirag Joswani has admitted his child under RTE which was under the scanner as the school had complained that the family may not be poor as claimed.
“We will visit the school and verify the documents as well as undertake physical verification of the child’s home. If the verification reveals nothing amiss, the child would be allowed to continue at the school. If it turns out to be false, a police case may also be registered,” said Jhalu.
Principal of Maharaja Agrasen School, Shobha Tyagi, told TOI that they suspected that something was amiss when the January electricity bill submitted by the parent was for Rs 2700.
“The father had certified his income as Rs 60,000. We wondered how a person earning Rs 5,000 a month could afford to pay an electricity bill of Rs 2700!” said Tyagi. Unlike the poor children admitted under RTE, this child’s dress betrayed a rather wealthy background.
The principal said that when the father was called to the school, he said he worked in a Vada Pav shop. In the documents submitted by him, he had presented himself as a self-employed person.