Chennai | HC direction to TN Education Dept

Chennai: The Madras High Court today directed the State Education Department to display on its website within three days the number of seats in the 25 per cent quota available for disadvantaged and weaker sections with different educational institutions.

The Education Department should place the details before this Court by an affidavit such as “how many seats have been utilized and how many are vacant in the 25 per cent reservation quota, so that necessary directions may be issued to endeavour to fill up even the balance seats if any,” the first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, said.

The benchm, after perusing the counter filed by the state Education department, in its order also directed the counsel for CBSE and HRD Ministry to file an affidavit within four weeks on the issue of funding raised by the Department and posted the matter for further hearing to July 6.

A PIL was filed by CHANGE INDIA (a centre for Advocacy and Research), Chennai, seeking a direction to the Department of School Education to create a transparent online single window method to monitor and streamline the process of admissions under RTE (Right to Education) Act,2009 and to make arrangements for free books, uniforms and other aids to students of disadvantaged groups/weaker sections.

When the matter came up, D Krishna Kumar, counsel for the Education Department, gave an undertaking that steps have been taken and will continue to be taken to ensure wide publicity to help students to apply in the 25 per cent quota.

It was also submitted that vacant seats which are not filled under 25 per cent reservation category are to be kept vacant till the end of this November in terms of Tamil Nadu Right of Children to Free and compulsory Education Rules 2011.

Source: Business Standard

Coimbatore | Rs 6 Crore Sought to Reimburse Schools for RTE Admissions

Coimbatore: The Directorate of Matriculation Schools submitted a claim of over Rs 6 crore on Wednesday to reimburse private schools in Coimbatore and Nilgiris districts for admitting students to free seats under the Right to Education Act.

This is only an approximate amount and the money would be paid only after an auditing team from Chennai scrutinises the schools’ records, according to Inspector of Matriculation Schools R Geetha.

As per the RTE Act, 25 percent of seats in private schools should be set apart for students from weaker sections. The government will reimburse the schools their fees. Private schools had recently announced that they would not admit students to the RTE quota this year as the government has not reimbursed them for the admissions made in the last two years.

Following this, the State government gave the School Education Department a loan of Rs 97.05 crore for the reimbursements. It authorised the State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to utilise the money. The authorities have started collecting details of admissions under the RTE Act.

Of the 338 private schools in Coimbatore and the Nilgiris, 46 are minority-run institutions which are exempted from the RTE Act. The School Education Department does not have details of the number of students admitted under RTE Act in the remaining 292 schools.

The Rs 6.03 crore includes Rs 1.65 crore for the 2013-14 academic year and Rs 4.04 crore for 2014-15 in Coimbatore district. For the Nilgiris, the reimbursement estimate is Rs 4.25 lakh for 2013-14 and Rs 30.14 lakh for 2014-15.

Source: The New Indian Express

TamilNadu | Rectify flaws before paying schools for RTE

Activists have urged the State government not to release money to private schools as fee reimbursement for students they had admitted under provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE).

Ambiguities

They argue there are several ambiguities in the implementation of the 25 per cent reservation in private, unaided, non-minority schools in Tamil Nadu and hence the government should hold back payment of fees to private schools.

Earlier this month, following demands from the private schools that the State government reimburse the tuition fees for students admitted under RTE, a sum of Rs. 97 crore was taken as loan by Sarva Siksha Abhiyan from the State’s exchequer to pay schools for admitting students for 2013-14 and 2014-15.

It was only following this Government Order that many schools accepted applications for admissions for the academic year 2015-16.

“Despite news reports, there has been no action taken by the School Education Department. These parents are from marginalised sections and are being harassed by schools.

Due to the fear of their child being victimised, parents might not have made a formal complaint,” P.B. Prince Gajendra Babu from the All India Forum for Right to Education said.

Another issue with the implementation of the RTE is the charging of fees for uniforms, books and other additional expenses incurred.

“According to Section 3(2) of the RTE, no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing the elementary education,” he said, adding that in certain schools, the fee was as high as Rs. 25,000 a year for kindergarten students.

K.R. Nandakumar, secretary of Tamil Nadu nursery, primary, matriculation and higher secondary schools said it was unfair that students were forced to pay Rs. 8,000 and Rs. 9,000 for textbooks.

However, unless the government covered the cost of books as well, schools will be unable to purchase them for children.

“When it comes to additional fees such as computer classes, music classes, dance classes and other expenses, the fees committee should take these into consideration when fixing the fees of the school,” he pointed out.

Unaware of violations

A senior School Education department official said they were unaware of any violations of the RTE and assured they would look into the issue.

Activists said there have been instances of parents from poor backgrounds being harassed by schools

Source: The Hindu

Erode | RTE admissions in schools under scanner

Erode: The school education department has asked for daily reports from schools on their compliance with 25 per cent admission of children from economically poor families under Right to Education Act.

Meetings of principals were convened thrice to discuss the issue.

Nearly 2,000 admissions need to be made, and so far 900 students have been admitted under RTE quota. Measures are in place to ensure complete compliance by schools, Chief Educational Officer P. Ayyannan said.

Ignorance of parents that admissions under RTE could be made only at the entry level has been a setback in the district.

There was no scope for schools to admit children to higher levels, the CEO explained.

Private school managements have been cautioned against diverting parents of eligible children to nearby goverment schools.

Managements of non-minority educational institutions feel there is no clarity on who would constitute backward and disadvantaged children qualifying for admission to 25 per cent of the seats under RTE quota.

Besides offering free admission, schools are also required to provide such children with free notebooks, writing materials and uniforms.

The schools have not yet received reimbursement they are entitled to from the government for the money they had spent on the children.

The financial settlement to the schools pending for the last two years would be made shortly. The funds for the claims made are expected, the CEO said.

Source: The Hindu

TamilNadu | Private schools call for counselling to fill RTE Act seats

The Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association has called for bringing in a counselling system, akin to that conducted by the Government for engineering admissions, to fill the seats in the quota created by the Right To Education (RTE) Act.

The association has expressed its willingness to surrender the seats to the Government, which can directly fill the RTE Act quota. Such a system will eliminate charges of admitting ineligible students. A resolution to this effect was passed during an association meeting here on Monday.

Besides seeking an end to pressurising private schools to fill the RTE Act quota seats, the association said such a system would also bring in clarity in the admission process. While thanking the State Government for releasing funds to reimburse private schools, association president R. Visalakshmi said that the scope of the Act must be restricted. The current norms were too broad, she said, adding that it must be changed so that the Act benefitted only the economically weaker sections. She called for bringing down the income ceiling to Rs. 24,000 per year from the current limit of Rs. 2 lakh to become eligible for admissions under RTE Act.

She also sought the revival of an earlier system of according ‘permanent recognition’ to private schools which were functioning for more than ten years. Permanent recognition, which is not being given for the past 15 years, means that schools will only have to submit the structural stability, fire safety and sanitation certificates periodically. Now, schools also have to renew their recognition every three years in a process which they say is tedious and cumbersome.

Source: The Hindu 

Tamilnadu | Rectify flaws before paying schools for RTE

Activists have urged the State government not to release money to private schools as fee reimbursement for students they had admitted under provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE).

They argue there are several ambiguities in the implementation of the 25 per cent reservation in private, unaided, non-minority schools in Tamil Nadu and hence the government should hold back payment of fees to private schools.

Earlier this month, following demands from private schools that the State government reimburse the tuition fees for students admitted under RTE, a sum of Rs. 97 crore was taken as loan by Sarva Siksha Abhiyan from the State’s exchequer to pay schools for admitting students for 2013-14 and 2014-15. It was only following this Government Order that many schools accepted applications for admissions for the academic year 2015-16.

“Despite news reports, there has been no action taken by the School Education Department. These parents are from marginalised sections and are being harassed by schools. Due to the fear of their child being victimised, parents might not have made a formal complaint,” P.B. Prince Gajendra Babu from the All India Forum for Right to Education said.

Another issue with the implementation of the RTE is the charging of fees for uniforms, books and other additional expenses incurred. “According to Section 3(2) of the RTE, no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing the elementary education,” he said, adding that in certain schools, the fee was as high as Rs. 25,000 a year for kindergarten students.

K.R. Nandakumar, secretary of Tamil Nadu nursery, primary, matriculation and higher secondary schools said it was unfair that students were forced to pay Rs. 8,000 and Rs. 9,000 for textbooks. However, unless the government covered the cost of books as well, schools will be unable to purchase them for children. “When it comes to additional fees like computer classes, music classes and other expenses, the fees committee should take these into consideration when fixing the fees of the school,” he pointed out. A senior School Education department official said they were unaware of any violations of the RTE and assured they would look into the issue.

Activists said there have been instances of parents from poor backgrounds being harassed by schools

Source: The Hindu

TamilNadu | ‘Don’t Reimburse Private Schools for RTE Admissions’

Coimbatore: The State Platform for Common School System (SPCSS) has submitted a petition to the State Project Director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), against the reimbursement of fees to private schools to facilitate admissions under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, contending that public money cannot be transferred to private entities without any justification and accountability.

Under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, all private, unaided, non-minority schools must reserve 25 per cent of their seats for children belonging to disadvantaged sections of society, and the government will reimburse the expenditure incurred by these schools for this purpose. The School Education Department had recently issued a GO, directing the State Project Director, SSA, to utilise the grant sanctioned for reimbursement of fees to the Unaided, Non-Minority private schools. The association said this was a blatant violation of the Act, and that the parents of these children from marginalised sections of society are being harassed and threatened by the schools. The General Secretary of SPCSS, Prince Gajendra Babu, questioned as to why no action was taken by the TN Government against the schools for not implementing the provisions of the Act.

The SPCSS requested the project director not to make any reimbursement until a thorough enquiry is carried out and a clear assurance on the reimbursement of money by the Centre to the State secured.

Source: The New Indian Express

Tiruchirapalli | Education officials hold orientation programme for schools on RTE

Tiruchirapalli: With the standoff between the State government and private schools coming to an end following the recent Government Order on reimbursing fees to schools, the Right to Education Act (RTE Act), 2009, is set to make an impact among the underprivileged children.

The Education Department has conducted a couple of orientation programmes for heads and principals of various private schools on the need to allocate 25 per cent of seats in L.K.G and Class 1 to the poor students.

They were clearly explained about the consequences if they failed to follow the provisions of the RTE Act. They were told that they should not fill the quota through the general admission system that they were being followed by respective schools. The department has identified about 3,300 seats in 325 schools in the Tiruchi district under the RTE Act quota. To facilitate the poor and marginalised children getting admission in non-minority self-financing private schools, it has started collecting applications from the interested parents.

The Chief Educational Officer, N. Anandi, told The Hindu on Wednesday that the government was keen on passing the benefits of the RTE Act. It had achieved 87 per cent result on filling seats under the RTE quota. All out efforts were made to fill all seats this year.

Stating that the department had received good response from the parents this year, she said the last date for submission of applications for admission under the RTE Act had been extended up to June 15.

Besides submitting the applications at the education offices, they could submit in the respective schools. If applications crossed the actual number of seats, random system would be followed to select students.

She added that circulars had been sent to all schools on the need for strictly following the provisions of RTE Act. Schools should not give room for subverting the Act.

Source: The Hindu

TamilNadu | Admission to schools under RTE extended to June 15

Chennai: The last date for submission of applications for admissions under the Right to Education Act 2009 in non-minority self-financing schools in LKG and Standard I for weaker sections has been extended up to June 15, according to an Education Department press release. Application forms can be obtained from the offices of the District Elementary Education Officer, Inspector of Matriculation Schools, Chief Educational Officer and all assistant elementary education officers and respective schools, the release added. — Special Correspondent

Source: The Hindu

TamilNadu| Private schools welcome G.O. on RTE Act fee reimbursement

Coimbatore: With funds sanctioned to reimburse the private schools for the fees of students admitted under the Right To Education Act, the district administration convened a meeting on Monday to discuss the admissions for the next academic year.

District Collector Archana Patnaik told the heads of schools that they would be reimbursed as early as possible the fees for the students admitted in the past two years under the RTE Act quota. The academic year of 2015-16 would mark the fourth year of admitting students under the RTE Act.

Private schools are mandated to set aside 25 per cent of their total seats for students from disadvantaged groups or weaker sections free of cost with their fee to be reimbursed by the Central and State Governments.

R. Visalakshi, president of Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association, said that the allocation of funds would make the schools adopt a positive approach to admissions this year.

However, she noted that the funds only cover the fees and not the accessories given by the schools.

Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Welfare Association general secretary G. Krishnaraj said that the State Government should expedite the reimbursement.

However, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Young Wing secretary V. Eswaran said that with funds now sanctioned, the last date for submitting application forms must extended.

Source: The Hindu