TamilNadu | Hundreds log in for RTE admissions

On Day 1, Chennai has the highest number of applicants; online counters to be open till May 18

Online applications under the Right to Education (RTE) Act opened up at the midnight of April 20 and the first application was received by the education department as early as 12.48 a.m. from a parent in East Tambaram.

At 7.50 p.m. on day 1 of the process, the School Education Department had received 1,246 applications.

Speaking to The Hindu, School Education Secretary T. Udhayachandran said the department had gone ahead with initiating an online process for RTE admissions to bring in more transparency. “We had previously heard reports about a few schools refusing to admit students under the RTE and through this process, there will be fewer roadblocks for parents. While schools are allowed to issue RTE forms, they have been instructed to upload the details online as well or send the forms to the education offices in their area,” Mr. Udhayachandran said.

Chennai education district received the highest number of RTE applications from parents, followed by Tiruvallur and Salem education districts.

A parent filling in the RTE form online can view the seats available and select the schools in their respective areas. Parents who apply are then sent a confirmation with an SMS once the form has been submitted.

e-seva centres

While the department has only partly taken applications online, parents can approach the e-seva centres in their districts or can seek help from the District Education Offices to submit forms in case they don’t have access to computers. The online counters for RTE applications will be open till May 18. With a number of private schools taking their admission process online, the move to shift RTE admissions online was welcomed by educationalists as it would streamline the process. Earlier this month, the education department had announced that it was taking the process partly online and had published the list of schools and seats available online as well.

“If there are educational districts which receive more applications than the number of seats available, the Education Department will arrange for lots to be picked. This will not be online, but will be done manually in front of the parents and children to ensure that they are aware of the process,” Mr. Udhayachandran said.

Source: The Hindu

Tamil nadu | Online RTE admissions from April 20

With 5,138 seats in 669 matriculation schools, the Tiruvallur education district has the highest number of seats available under the Right to Education Act for the 2017-18 academic year.

The admissions will also be done online in Tamil Nadu this year and will be open from April 20 through the website of the School Education Department.

The facility to have online counters for RTE admissions is already in place in New Delhi and Maharashtra.

Under the RTE Act, 25% of the seats at the entry level classes in schools should be earmarked for students from the weaker sections of the society.

The School Education Department has separately provided details about the seats available under the RTE Act in matriculation schools as well as nursery schools in each district online in a move to help parents identify institutions in their neighbourhood.

The Chennai and Kancheepuram educational districts follow Tiruvallur with 4,914 seats and 4,042 seats which have been set aside under the RTE Act.

e-seva centres

To use the online service, parents can approach the e-seva centres in their districts or can seek help from the District Education Offices. Parents who apply for admissions online will receive a confirmation with an SMS, an official from the Education Department said.

While the online counters for RTE applications will be kept open till May 18, parents will be able to go to the educational institutions in person and apply, as well as submit RTE forms.

The move to take the application process partly online for RTE seats has been welcomed by educationists and activists many of whom have been appealing to the government for the past few years to make the process more transparent and fair.

“Making the RTE applications available online will hopefully streamline the process. There have been several instances where people have gone to schools with recommendations and money to buy seats set aside under the RTE Act, and we hope this will come down,” said K.R. Nandhakumar, State general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary and Matriculation Schools Association.

The State government, in a statement, said that ₹125 crore has been allotted for students who were admitted under the RTE Act in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and who continue studying in schools across the State.

The settlements will reach the educational institutions soon, the statement added.

Source: The Hindu

Tamil Nadu | Private schools demand early RTE reimbursements

Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association has urged the State Government to not delay the reimbursement of fee for students admitted under the Right to Education Act and pay those by September every academic year.

Resolution

The Association made the demand by way of a resolution it passed at a meeting held in Coimbatore on Saturday.

It also wanted the Government to grant recognition for three years and permanent recognition for those schools that were 10 years old or more.

For other schools, the Association said the Government should give more time to comply with rules.

Syllabus

The Association said that the Government should not compel private schools to achieve the target for admitting students under the Right to Education Act, upgrade the Samacheer syllabus on a par with Plus One and Plus Two syllabi as there was a wide gap.

It also sought uniform syllabus across the country, as suggested in the draft of the National Education Policy.

Other demands

The other demands the Association made included the issue of ESI issuing notices to schools when a case in this regard was pending before courts and coming out in the open on the minimum land required for private schools, as the survival of 900 plus schools was dependent thereon.

The Association also sought reforms in the way the Government conducted the Plus Two exam – pooling of three neighbourhood schools to a centre among others.

Source : The Hindu

Triplicane | Schools continue to violate RTE Act

Six students from poor families and enrolled through the Right to Education Act in two schools in Triplicane and Royapettah are on the verge of dropping out of school at the primary classes itself.

The schools have sternly told the parents from the economically weaker sections to pay the tuition fee immediately if they wanted their children to continue studies instead of waiting for the government’s refund as per the RTE Act.

Shareef works in a mutton stall and his son has finished his Class I. But the matriculation school in Balaji Nagar, where he is studying, has sent him home telling his father to pay the fee. “The school has raised a bill for Rs. 22,000, including books. My son has been studying there since L.K.G,” his wife Naseema Begum said. Shareef has approached the Directorate of Matriculation Schools.

CBSE schools

A CBSE school on Ellis Road has similarly provided an ultimatum to five of its students. Nasreen was told that her daughter could continue in Class I only if she paid the tuition fees. “The school authorities said they had not received refund from the government and asked us to pay tuition fee of Rs.480 per month,” she said.

Until last year, the fee was Rs. 5,000 per year. “My husband is a labourer in a hotel. We could not even afford to buy books,” she said, adding that she chose the school as it was one street away from home. Sauziya, whose child is also on the verge of dropping out, said she is trying to raise the money by Monday. “All the five children are in a similar situation,” she said.

“Schools that violate the RTE Act and demand fee will be strictly dealt with,” a senior official of the Directorate of Matriculation Schools said.

Schools tell parents of poor students to immediately pay the tuition fee or keep the children at home

Source : The Hindu

Tirumangalam | Admission denied under RTE Act

The children of a Dalit couple, hailing from a poor economic background, were allegedly denied admissions under the Right to Education Act by a popular private matriculation school located in Tirumangalam here.

P. Kutti Kamatchi (30), whose husband works as a casual labourer, said that she tried for admission at the school for his son and daughter for Class 1 and LKG respectively.

“When I approached the school last week, they bluntly rejected saying that they were not admitting anyone under RTE Act,” Mr. Kamatchi alleged, adding that they demanded a capitation fee of about Rs. 5,000 per child for immediate admission.

“They told me that they had not received the refund of fee from the government last year for the children admitted under the RTE Act. Hence, they were not admitting anyone under the RTE Act now,” she said.

Ms. Kamatchi claimed that when she contacted the authorities at the office of the Inspector of Matriculation Schools (IMS) in Madurai, she was suggested to apply in other schools in their neighbourhood.

“When I said I wanted to apply for another popular school in the area, the officials said that admissions might be already over in that school,” she alleged.

A. Rajini, advocate and convener of People’s Movement for Social Justice, said that the situation was not different in most other private schools which allegedly denied admissions under the RTE Act citing frivolous reasons. “They may give reasons like the residence of the child is far from the school. The tendency is to reject the applications instead of accommodating more students from deprived backgrounds,” he said.

When contacted, IMS of Madurai P. Srinivasamurthy, said he would inquire into it soon.

 Source : The Hindu

Tamil Nadu | State may shun duty as Centre approves kindergarten in Right To Education

Coimbatore: The Centre’s decision to include RTE admissions in kindergarten, may bring relief to some parents who could not have previously admitted their 3 and 4-year-old children to private schools, but it has completely relieved the state government of its responsibility to provide access to free education at the kindergarten level. Since there is no kindergarten in state government schools, it will impact enrolment, especially in rural areas.

On Saturday, the Centre told the Madras high court that kindergarten admissions would also be covered under the ambit of Right to Education, clearing the confusion over the reimbursement for private schools, that has been due for three years now.

Under RTE that was implemented in Tamil Nadu in 2012, private schools must reserve 25% seats for admission under this category. As per the rules, private schools would be reimbursed the tuition fees they have spent towards the education of the child admitted under RTE.

The absence of kindergarten in government schools, and the clearance by the Centre to cover kindergarten admissions in private schools under RTE, will help the state government reduce its expenditure on RTE. “The Centre’s decision will hamper enrolment in elementary and private schools in rural areas. When parents are eligible for free education in private schools, they are likely to opt for a private school over a government school,” the official said.

“In the last two years, I have observed that elementary school enrolment has dipped. In many primary schools in rural areas, children across all ages sit in the same classroom,” she said.

 The state government has introduced KG in some schools across the state to test the system. However, a full-fledged system is not in place yet.
 According to the district information system for education (DISE), 31% enrolment every year takes place in private schools. “The government can prevent the enrolment from dropping if it extends the RTE to Anganvadis, and formally introduce kindergarten education,” another officer of the school education department said.
Director of ChangeIndia, A Narayanan, feels that the RTE Act does not serve its purpose of providing free education to the poor and needy. “The act has failed to serve its purpose. The state government has failed to deliver when it comes to free education for those in need,” he said.

Tamil Nadu | Flaws Galore in RTE Implementation – CAG Report

Chennai: Implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE) was poor in Tamil Nadu in the 2013-14 academic year according to the CAG report which singles out the district nodal officers for inadequate monitoring.

CAG report on RTE25 implementation in TamilNadu

The report states that 59 schools in four test districts of Chennai, Coimbatore, Pudukottai and Tiruvallur were found to be collecting fees to the tune of Rs 30.76 lakh from 541 children admitted under RTE contrary to the provisions of the act. Uniforms and text books, which students admitted under RTE are entitled to free of cost, were given only after payment of money by the parents, the report states.

In addition, the scrutiny of records by the CAG found that 70 of these 110 schools admitted 321 children without obtaining income/community certificates from competent authorities, as proof of them belonging to disadvantaged groups to qualify for admissions under RTE. A number of schools also did not insist on students producing documentary proof either for age or residence, the report notes.

The district level nodal officers failed to conduct meetings and inspections to ensure proper implementation of the act, the report stated. In official replies, the education officials have said that these issues would be rectified and grievance redressal mechanisms would be brought into place.

Source: The New Indian Express

Coimbatore | Parents, outfits protest against pvt schools for ‘denying’ RTE

Coimbatore: Parents of two private schools, members of CPI and Tamil Nadu State Platform for Common Schools staged a protest outside the south taluk office on Monday evening. The parents alleged that the schools, despite intervention from the school education department, were continuing to deny their children the right to education.

Parents of Shanti Niketan School, Pollachi, alleged that the school continued to discriminate with their children for not agreeing to pay the fees demanded by the school. “We have paid the fees prescribed by the Justice Singaravelan Committee for private schools. But, the school is discriminating against my child by not providing them the private textbooks. They are also not allowed to sit in the Hindi class which is conducted between 9am and 4pm,” said a parent from Shanti Niketan.

On the other hand, a parent from Vidya Nikethan Matriculation Higher Secondary School alleged that the school was not allowing his son who studied in Class 2 to continue in the school. “My son has not attended school since the school reopened in June. They have not accepted my fees also,” said the father of the child.

School correspondent Rajini Krishnamoorthy, said, “The father has troubled the school and its teachers with his behaviour. Female teachers of the school started complaining to me about his behaviour. The school coordinator, the officials from the school education department and I have tried to settle the matter so that the child’s education is not affected but, to no avail.”

In the case of Shanti Nikethan School, the school education department initiated a probe into the allegations leveled by the parents against the school. A committee headed by chief education officer N Arul Murugan had found the school guilty of discriminating against the children. Arul Murugan was not available for comment.

Protesting along with the parents, general secretary of State Platform for Common Schools Prince Gajendra Babu, said, “In the case of Vidya Nikethan School, there is a case filed in the court. And, if the court finds the father guilty of the allegations leveled by the school, then action will be taken accordingly. But, the school should think about allowing the child to continue his education.”

He added, “In Shanti Niketan School case, we are alarmed by the lethargy of the school education department in failing to implement the Right to Education Act.”

Source: The Times of India

Trichy | Rs 1.3cr to be reimbursed to schools

Trichy: As per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, Rs 1.3 crore will soon be reimbursed to schools in the district as the inspector of matriculation schools has begun collating details such as bank accounts and IFS code of the institutions. The funds will be directly credited to the bank accounts of the schools. The inspector will pass on the details to the state education department to facilitate the disbursal of the amount.

Around 98% of the total 2,088 seats in the district have been filled under the RTE Act by the school education department.

It was decided at a recent meeting convened by the inspector of matriculation schools, P Vasantha to collate particulars of the schools that have admitted students under the RTE Act. The district has 106 high and higher secondary private schools and 348 nursery schools. Under the Act, all private schools have to allocate 25% of the total seats to poor students free of cost. Priority should be provided to students hailing within 3-km radius of the school. However, schools run by minorities do not come under the Act.

Recently, private schools had decided not to admit students under the Act, citing delay in reimbursements as the reason. The schools were never reimbursed for the past three years and the association members of private schools decided to stop admitting students. About Rs 115 crore was due to the schools. Recently, a sum of Rs 97 crore was sanctioned for reimbursement purpose.

In 2013, private schools in the district were facing a deficit of Rs 40 lakh. In 2014, it increased to Rs 90 lakh. With such huge financial deficit, private schools took up the issue with the education department.

Vasantha said particulars such as bank account, IFSC are being collected from schools, which will be submitted to the state education department.

She added that the disbursal will begin in the next few days once all the particulars are updated. The amount will be directly credited to the bank accounts of the schools, she added.

Source: The Times of India

Madurai | RTE seats remain vacant, education officials blame parents

Madurai: The district educational authorities, who are struggling to fill the seats allotted under Right to Education (RTE) Act, said lack of cooperation from the parents was the reason they found it difficult to fill up seats.

The Act mandates that private matriculation schools have to allocate 25% of their seats at the entry-level classes to poor students. The students’ fees will be reimbursed by the government. There are a total of 10,260 seats in private matriculation schools for entry-level classes like LKG and Class 6. Of this, 2,617 seats have been reserved under RTE in the district.

While last year they had managed to touch 70%, officials had vowed to fill at least 90% of the seats this year. But so far, they have filled up just around 67% of the seats.

At present, hardly two or three students are admitted per week as parents have concluded their wards’ admission processes. “There are more than 850 seats lying vacant in the schools now but no takers. We managed to make almost all the schools to surrender the seats, but we find it hard to mobilise the parents,” said an official from Inspector of Matriculation Schools Office, Madurai district.

“I believe that anything more than 75% would not be an achievable target in the future also. Parents do not want their wards to study in an average private school. They either prefer reputed private schools or are happy with government schools,” another official said.

Source: The Times of India