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

Coimbatore | Schools Told to Comply With RTE Norms

Coimbatore: The Inspector of Matriculation Schools here has instructed matriculation schools to ensure 100 per cent admission under the Right To Education (RTE) Act.

According to the Act, 25 per cent of seats in schools have to be reserved for the economically and socially disadvantaged section of students. While these students are not required to pay fees, the government will be reimbursing the fee amount to the schools.

During the monthly review meeting of matriculation schools in the district, Inspector of Matriculation Schools in Coimbatore R Geetha instructed private matriculation schools to achieve 100 percent admission under the Act. “Apart from this, general instructions were given regarding admission norms, ensuring safety of students and about parent-teacher associations,” Geetha said.

Regarding the notice issued to schools which have not enrolled a single child under the RTE Act, Geetha said, “These schools have started sending their responses. Some have stated that they have not received any application under the RTE Act. A few others have agreed to admit students under the RTE Act which is a positive development.”

Sources said that of the 232 matriculation schools in Coimbatore, not even a single student was enrolled under the RTE Act in 24. The Matriculation Directorate has sent show cause notices to these schools asking them why even a single student was not enrolled under the RTE Act. It has also sought explanation from the schools as to why their recognition should not be cancelled.

Source: The New Indian Express

Coimbatore | RTE Act: 24 matric schools in Coimbatore fail to admit even one student

Coimbatore: As many as 24 private matriculation schools in Coimbatore have failed to admit even a single student this year under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which mandated all private schools to set aside 25 per cent of their seats to disadvantaged and weaker sections.

With 276 schools, Coimbatore has among the highest number of matriculation schools for a single district in Tamil Nadu.

Sources in the Directorate of Matriculation Schools told The Hindu on Saturday that the School Education Department began issuing notices seeking explanation within a week’s time. The schools have also been asked to keep the seats vacant as its details would soon be uploaded on to a website, to enable parents to apply .

In Coimbatore, the total number of seats in entry-level classes of L.K.G. and Standard I was 15,546 seats, of which 3,985 have been set aside for RTE Act quota. However, only 2,453 have been filled, according to the School Education Department committee on the RTE Act.

As per Government Order No: 60, private schools must display the list of students admitted under RTE Act by July 17. In schools where the applications exceed available seats, lots must be drawn on July 22. However, unfilled seats must be kept vacant till September-October.

Till this year, implementation of the RTE Act was spotty due to reluctance of private school as they had not reimbursed the fee of students admitted in the past three years. However, with Rs. 97 crore being allocated this year, the State government has begun scrutinising the admission process.

However, R. Visalakshi, president of Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association, questioned this move and said that this amounted to threatening private schools. Such notices should be issued only to schools accused of irregularities in admission process.

“If no parent asks for an application from a private school, how can the institution be held at fault? Such action must be limited to schools charged with not accepting duly completed applications,” she added.

Other board schools

On the other hand, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) youth wing secretary V. Eswaran said that the State government must extend these measures to schools affiliated to other boards such as Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE).

“The State government is the implementing authority for the RTE Act. However, both the Chief Educational Officer and the Inspector of Matriculation Schools have said that other board schools do not come under their purview and hence, they cannot collect details of vacant seats in those schools,” he said.

Mr. Eswaran, who has campaigned for implementing this Act, noted that the State government, through the Justice S.R Singaravelu-led Committee, fixed the fees for schools of all boards in Tamil Nadu.

Source: The Hindu

Chennai | Not One Seat Filled Under RTE in Over 150 City Schools

Chennai: More than 150 elementary and matriculation schools in the city have not admitted a single student in the current academic year under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which mandates reservation of 25 percent seats for the socio-economically under-privileged. The latest data of Tamil Nadu Directorate of Matriculation Schools brings out this startling revelation.

The data indicates that elementary schools in the state have filled less than 50 percent of the seats under the RTE quota in 2015-16. Matriculation schools fared better with 63.56 percent seats being filled. (See box)

In Chennai out of the 304 matriculation and 289 elementary schools, 60 matriculation schools and 97 elementary schools have failed to admit even a single student under the RTE quota. Surprisingly, the data also reveals at a few matriculation schools the entry level intake of students itself was nil. A cursory glance of the figures clearly shows that many schools in the state have failed to admit even a single student under the RTE quota in the current academic year.
“Why have these seats not been filled? Have these schools not displayed any boards outside their premises calling for admissions under the RTE or were the people in the area not aware?” were the questions raised by prominent education activist PB Prince Gajendra Babu, who called for strict action against these schools.

On the issue of some schools showing zero intake, he wondered if the data was verified before being made public. “Some big schools have shown only 30 seats as their intake capacity at Lower Kindergarten (LKG) level. One wonders if they have furnished data for only one section,” he said.

Speaking to Express, Directorate of Matriculation Schools R Pitchai said showcause notice would be issued to schools which have failed to admit students under the RTE. “The notice shall be sent very soon,” he added.

last month, Madras High Court had directed the school education department to display the seats available and filled under the RTE quota on its website. Following this, the data was made public on Thursday.

Source: The New Indian Express

Madurai | Details of vacant seats under Right to Education Act may go online soon

Madurai: Officials of the School Education Department said here on Tuesday that details of vacant seats set aside for admission under the Right to Education (RTE) Act might be made available online.
“We are still waiting for an official announcement. The coordination process and uploading will be carried out in a centralised process at the Directorate of Education in Chennai. By releasing it online, the information will be made more accessible to parents and they can seek admission in schools which still have vacant RTE seats,” an official said.

At present, the School Education Department website only has a detailed list of matriculation schools with the number of seats earmarked under the RTE Act, against the total number of seats.
Under the RTE Act, private schools have to set aside 25 per cent of their seats for children from underprivileged background, whose family’s annual income is less than Rs 2 lakh.

In Madurai, 967 seats are lying vacant across 148 private matriculation schools in the district.

In a bid to keep the public informed about the number of seats vacant under the RTE Act, a list of vacancies as of July 24 has been kept on display at the office of the Inspector of Matriculation Schools here.
“We update the list every 10 days and keep it on display so that the public are aware of the schools they can approach. When compared to last year, the number of admissions under the RTE is higher this year.

Despite the academic year having already begun, parents can still approach the schools if they want admission under RTE,” said M. Govindarajan, Inspector of Matriculation Schools.

Mr. Govindarajan further said that the number of seats vacant in a few schools was high because the public chose to apply for admission under the RTE in only a few schools.
The move to publish the details of vacant seats online is seen as a positive sign.

A few outfits, including the Tamil Puligal, had earlier alleged discrepancies in the filling up of seats under the RTE Act in the district and submitted petitions to the Collector.

Source: The Hindu

Coimbatore | School Education Department committee to handle complaints

Coimbatore: A School Education Department committee that was originally formed to scrutinise private schools’ claims for fee reimbursements of students admitted under Right To Education (RTE) Act, will now handle all private school-related complaints of the parents and public. The committee would conduct meeting on a weekly basis and also as and when any emergency breaks out.

Members

Chaired by the Chief Educational Officer, the committee comprised the Inspector of Matriculation Schools, Chief Educational Officer of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), District Elementary Education Officer (DEEO), and the District Educational Officers of Coimbatore and Pollachi, official sources told The Hindu here on Monday.

The scrutiny of RTE fee reimbursement claims began last Monday and was supposed to be completed in a couple of days. However, the scrutiny process has been extended till this Wednesday for Coimbatore.

Some of the common complaints received by the Department include collection of fees in excess of the levels fixed by Justice S.R Singaravelu-led Private Schools Fee Determination Committee, ill-treatment of students who had either not paid the fees or the excess fees demanded by schools, detaining of students for paying fees, complaints over private schools not providing RTE Act admission fees.

The Directorate of Matriculation Schools has submitted a claim for Rs. 5.69 crore towards fees reimbursement of private schools in Coimbatore, which has the largest number of private schools in Tamil Nadu.

Among the recent complaints was against a school in Pollachi, which allegedly refused entry to a student, who had not paid the fees.

Officials went to the school and spoke with both the management and the parents and resolved the issue.

Other issues include dealing with parent’s contention that students admitted under RTE Act need not pay for accessories such as uniform and educational material, which are not covered under the legislation. Further, a School Education Department official said, the major issue facing this committee was the refusal of many private schools to admit students under RTE Act. Till now, private schools had pointed out to the non-reimbursement of fees as the reason behind their reluctance to admit students under RTE Act. However, with the State Government releasing Rs. 97 crore for students admitted in the past two academic years, the official said that private schools now had no reason not to admit students.

Source: The Hindu

Salem | RTE: Private schools in Salem inspected

Salem: Officials of the Education Department on Wednesday began inspecting private schools to check whether admissions were made under Right to Education Act in the last two academic years.

A team led by Chief Educational Officer A. Gnanagowri inspected a private school near Kandampatti Bypass and found total of 36 students studying in LKG and UKG and nine children were admitted under the RTE.

She interacted with teachers and students about the teaching and learning methods adopted in the school.

30 teams

As many as 30 teams have been formed in the district to inspect 412 schools and submit reports about the implementation of RTE by June 22. Under the act, 25 per cent seats are reserved for poor and downtrodden and their fees would be paid by the government to the respective schools. Recently, the State government sanctioned Rs. 97.04 crore to the schools for admitting students during 2013-14 and 2014-15.

In the last two years, protests were held outside few private schools for refusing to admit schools under RTE.

Hence, officials are inspecting the records on the number of students admitted under the RTE and the funds received from the government for the admissions.

Source: The Hindu