TamilNadu| Rectify issues in RTE, OPS urges Modi

Chennai: Alleging that the previous United Progressive Alliance regime was not serious about implementing the ‘Right to Education’, Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday asked the National Democratic Alliance to “rectify the situation” and ensure that the act is beneficial for children of weaker and disadvantaged sections.

Due to the changes to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan framework by the UPA government, the Tamil Nadu government’s claim for reimbursement of Rs 25.13 crore for 2013-14 had not been admitted even as a ‘measly amount’ of Rs 14 lakh had been provided against the claim of Rs 71.57 crore for 2014-15, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said.

Asking the NDA government to “rectify the situation”, the Chief Minister, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that the HRD Ministry in March 2014 had written to all states, indicating that reimbursement of expenditure incurred for 25 per cent admissions in private unaided schools has been included under head of addressing equity issues in elementary education in the SSA framework.

It was also indicated that the reimbursement would be effective from April 1, 2014 and that it would be only for classes I to VIII and subject to a maximum ceiling of 20 per cent of the total Annual Work Plan and budget approved by the Government of India for a state or UT under SSA, he said.

“Based on these unilateral and arbitrary amendments to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan framework, the claim of Rs 25.13 crore submitted by Tamil Nadu government for the year 2013-14 has not been admitted. Further, the claim submitted for 2014-15 for an amount of Rs 71.57 crore has been restricted to a measly amount of Rs 14 lakh,” he said.

This restriction of the claim to Rs 14 lakh is because the new framework made expenditure incurred on children enrolled in Class I and upwards eligible for reimbursement, he said.

“This is a completely arbitrary restriction and violates the provisions of Section 12(1)(c) of the Act, which provides for admitting children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in pre-school as well, where the school imparts preschool education.”

“In Tamil Nadu, hardly any private schools admit children in Class I and children are invariably admitted in pre-KG. If a child is not admitted in the school at this stage, it would be very difficult for the child to secure admission in Class I,” he said.

Amendments to the SSA framework were “not just in contravention of the provisions of the Act, but also in severely handicap children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups,” he said, adding if the expenditure was not reimbursed, such children would not get admission in private, unaided schools at all.

Further, placing the entire burden of reimbursing fees to students admitted to pre-school on the state government was a “contravention” of Section 7(1) of the Act and Rule 7 of the RTE, Mr. Panneerselvam said.

Source: The Hindu

Change.org Bhumi’s petition – Update

Bhumi’s Change.org petition on RTE in Tamilnadu with 1,531 signatures was handed over to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Special Cell and Principal Secretary to the Government, School Education Department, Govt. of Tamil Nadu

Change (1)Change (2)

Change (3)

 

Change (4)

The Principal Secretary to the Government, School Education Department, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Ms.Sabitha I.A.S informed us

  • The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Mr.O.Panneerselvam has requested the central government to release funds to enable reimbursements to private schools
  • It is the duty of the schools to admit children under RTE and non-disbursal of funds cannot be a reason for not taking in children
  • Parents/NGOs can complain against erring schools at the office of the Chief Education officer for that district
  • If schools do not fill the necessary seats children can get admitted up to six months using this quota

Please continue to support our petition by sharing and encouraging your friends to sign. Thank You.

Dr.Prahalathan,

Co-founder, Bhumi

Chennai | Madras HC declines to interfere with norms for admission under RTE

Chennai: Declining to interfere with norms fixed by the Kendriya Vidhayalaya Sangathan for admissions under Right To Education Act, the Madras High Court on Friday dismissed the plea of a parent, whose son was selected under lots but denied the seat because the distance between the school and his residence was more than five km.

Justice S Vaidhyanathan of the Madurai bench of the High Court, rejected the argument of the petitioner M Mohan’s counsel, that the distance between the residence and the school via Madakulam Kanmoi (lake) was only two km and not 6.4 km, which was a circuitous route.

The judge wondered how the five-year-old child seeking admission in the school could cross the lake and reach school.

He also criticised the boy’s father for wrongly mentioning the distance in the application form as three km. Though the intention of the petitioner to impart good education in a reputed school was appreciable,the method he adopted to reach such a goal is deprecative, the judge said.

Referring to the plea of the petitioner for admission in the next year,the judge said they could not give such specific decision as the admission will be based on guidelines as notified by government every now and then under RTE act.

Source: Zee News

Chennai | Private schools reject right to education act

Chennai: Private schools in the state are threatening not to admit students under the RTE Act because the government has not paid the fees due to them for admitting such students for three years. The Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation, Higher Secondary Schools and CBSE Schools Association has warned that private schools in the state would not admit students under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act if the state school education department failed to reimburse the fees it had to pay the managements for students admitted under the 25 per cent free category by the end of May 2015.

While celebrating its silver jubilee on Thursday, the association passed several resolutions, including the demand for reimbursement of RTE fees. Speaking to reporters at the celebrations, Mr K.R. Nandakumar, secretary of the association, alleged that private schools in the state admitted lakhs of students under the 25 percent free category in the RTE Act over the past three years but the school education department did not reimburse the fees.

“If the department fails to pay the pending Rs150 crore to us we will not admit students under the RTE Act,” Mr Nandakumar said, adding that they would also explore the possibilities of moving the court to get the money from the government.“With the RTE Act in place students are promoted up to class 8 without examination because of which many students do not study well and fail in class nine and so government should revert to the older system,” they said.

Asked about the complaint of the schools, a senior school education department official said that they had not received any representation from the schools about the RTE issue and if they receive it the department would look into it.

Source: Deccan Chronicle

Change.org petition to Implement a fair and transparent RTE admission process for the poor in Private schools in TN

 

Change

Bhumi has started a petition on Change.org asking the Tamil Nadu government to

  • Implement a transparent online admission process for RTE seats in private schools
  • Publicise and create awareness about the RTE admission process
  • Validate and reimburse funds to private schools for children admitted in the past years to create a condusive environment for the children to be admitted under RTE

Please sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/rte-25

TN: Many schools ignore state directive, begin admissions

CHENNAI: A week ago, Shankar* told his boss he would not be able to work on Saturday. He had an important task – which required standing in queue in front of a school to get an application for his daughter’s nursery admission.

He was part of more than 100 parents standing before Holy Angels School in T Nagar in a line that extended to the Globus retail showroom. But no one was complaining. “This school doesn’t issue online applications because many parents seeking admission for their wards are not internet-savvy. And, this hardship is only for a day. If I get a seat here for my daughter, it will be worth the wait,” said Shankar, who reached the venue four hours before the school began issuing applications at 1pm.

Some parents, however, felt the school could have introduced both online and offline modes of issuing applications. “It’s almost like the school wants to see whether parents will make that extra effort to ensure that they get the seat,” said Shikha, a parent.

Institutions like Chennai Public School, Everwin Vidyashram, Pon Vidyashram and PSBB Millennium School in Gerugambakkam have completed online admissions, having started the process in November or December 2014. A 2012 government order directed schools to start admissions only in April.

“This is a direct violation of the RTE norms. But, in a city like Chennai it’s becoming hard to rein in schools. Parents, who are enamoured by these schools, clamour for early admissions and the schools find it hard to resist,” said Subramaniam, inspector of Anglo-Indian schools in Chennai. He said schools also earn a pretty sum from sale of applications. A school selling 2,000 applications for 45 seats at Rs 500 a form can net Rs 10 lakh at one go, said Subramaniam.

Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation Higher Secondary Schools state general secretary K R Nandakumar said, “Many schools in Chennai are conducting admissions before the date prescribed by the state. We should follow government norms so it will be convenient for parents who are getting transfers. But, schools are conducting admissions according to their convenience, and parents who can afford to pay hefty sums are getting seats. This is not a healthy practice.”

Several leading CBSE schools, including PSBB, Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram, Chinmaya Vidyalaya and DAV Senior Secondary School, start nursery admissions in February. Members of the Chennai Sahodaya of CBSE schools said they had decided on February and not May because their academic year begins in April, after a short vacation in March.

(* Names changed)

RTE norms

April 2 – Schools to prepare and display number of students to be admitted under the 25% reservation clause of the RTE Act

April 10 – application forms to be issued in state board and matriculation schools, as per state order

February -application forms to be issued in CBSE schools, as per decision taken by Chennai Sahodaya

………….

Admission criteria for children seeking admission under the general category

Children living within a radius of 1km to 5km from the school

Priority to siblings of students in the same school

Children of teaching and non-teaching staff in the school

Admission criteria for children seeking admission under the 25% reservation clause of RTE Act

Children from a family with an income level of less than Rs2 lakh a year

Children from SC / ST and OBC communities

Children with disabilities

Children of scavengers

Transgenders

…………….

Admission dates in leading CBSE schools

PSBB Group of Schools – online registration from February 1 to 3 for Pre-KG

DAV Boys Senior Secondary School, Mogappair – application forms to be obtained in person on February 9 and 10 for LKG

Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram – online registration on February 9 for LKG

Chettinad Vidyashram – application forms to be obtained in person from February 9 to 15 for Pre-KG and LKG

Source: Times of India

TN: Not reimbursed for #RTE25, schools say future tough

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu’s compliance with the RTE Act has been dismal, at 11.3% admissions of the total number of seats available for 2013-2014, and chances are things could get worse. Private schools say they may not be able to admit more students under RTE in the coming year unless the government addresses the issue of reimbursements to them and unpaid dues.
Tamil Nadu Nursery , Primary , Ma triculation and Higher Secondary Schools Association secretary K R Nanda Kumar says the association will meet the governor on April 23 to share problems that schools face because the state is not reimburs ing them for the amount they spend to admit students under the act. The association includes CBSE schools.

“We requested the government to re solve the issue several times but we have not received any compensation for the past three years,” he said. “We raised the matter last year and the government assured us that it would sanction Rs 25 crore. That was in September but it has done nothing as yet.”

The association says thousands of students have been admitted in matriculation schools over the past year but none of the schools were reimbursed. Nanda Kumar said the outstanding reimbursements for the past three years totalled Rs 100 crore.

Director of Matriculation Schools R Pitchai says the education department has requested the government for Rs 25.13 crore, but it is yet to sanction the funds.”This is for the year 2013-14. We are in the process of calculating the reimbursement for the current year,” he said.

The State of the Nation: RTE Section 12 (c) report found that a major problem appears to be lack of clarity in rules framed by the government for implementation of the RTE Act in the state. It found that there was no clarity in the age criteria in Tamil Nadu, or for calculation of expenditure per child, the authority responsible to calculate the expenditure, how the authorities would finance uniforms and books or even the method of calculating the reimbursement.

Accountability Initiative was a partner in the report. Its director Yamini Aiyar says the low school participation rate in Tamil Nadu could be related to delays in reimbursement or the lack of clarity on how it is calculated. “Many schools are unclear if the waiver applies only to tuition fees or includes expenses on books, stationery and uniforms,” she said.

Soucre: Times of India

TN: State Below National Average in RTE: Study

Notwithstanding the doubling of seats filled in private schools in Tamil Nadu under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the 2013-14 percentage of 19.35 remains significantly below the national average of 29 per cent, states a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) along with policy advocacy groups Central Square Foundation, Accountability Initiative, and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

The study, which assessed implementation of the 25 per cent RTE reservation across Indian States, showed that in Tamil Nadu, out of the 1.43 lakh seats available under the Act, only 16,194 were filled in 2013-14. Of this, 9,896 seats were from rural areas and 6,298 from urban areas. School participation rates, too, seem to be low with only 1392 of the 10,758 schools taking at least one admission: a participation rate of just 12.94 per cent.

The reason for such low participation could be the lack of clarity on several issues including fee reimbursement. “In many States, there is no clarity on how the reimbursement amount is calculated. In many instances, schools and parents are not clear if the fee waiver applies only to the school tuition or includes expenses such as books, stationery and uniform. Private schools also face the problem of delay in receipt of reimbursement from the government,” said Yamini Iyer, director of Accountability Initiative. She added that though the Tamil Nadu rules and notifications outline the time line of the reimbursement cycle, the authority that is responsible for calculating details like cost expenditure per child is not clear.

“Effective implementation of this provision requires that the State RTE rules and notifications clearly provide information to different stakeholders to access the law, expand reimbursement to cover pre-primary classes, prevent disadvantaged children from dropping out and remove blanket exemptions for minority schools,” said Arghya Sengupta, founder and research director of Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.
According to the report, issues that needed strengthening in Tamil Nadu included creating awareness, clarity on who would incur costs beyond tuition fees, and what should the entry age requirement be. But what does reflect the strength in the State’s rules are well defined beneficiary categories, like orphans, children of HIV affected patients, transgenders, a well- defined selection process and grievance redressal by local bodies.

Source: Indian Express

TN : Data shows fudged RTE numbers

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu’s claim that it has more children admitted in school under the Right to Education Act than any other state appears to be mere humbug and the result of some deft manipulation of numbers.

The school education directorate had claimed the state admitted 89,941 students under the RTE Act during the academic year 2014-15. But in response to an RTI application filed by Satta Panchayat Iyakkam (SPI), an NGO, the directorate has admitted only 2,959 students across the state benefited from the RTE Act during the period.

The school education directorate’s reply shows Salem admitted 241 students under RTE Act, the most among all districts in the state. Dindigul district is in second place (238), followed by Tirupur (205) and Namakkal (191). Kanyakumari (10) admitted the fewest students under the RTE Act. Kancheepuram (12), Nilgiris (12) and Vellore (13) also performed poorly. The RTI reply said only 112 students received admission under the Act in Chennai.

“The fee determination committee fixed the annual cost of a student’s education at Rs 5,000 for LKG and Rs 6,000 for Class 6. The government has exaggerated the numbers to get more funds,” SPI president Siva Elango said at a press conference here on Tuesday.

School education secretary D Sabitha denied that the authorities had faked the numbers. “We admitted 89,941 students across the state for 2014-15 under the RTE Act,” she said. “There could be some errors in the data tabulation.”

The RTE Act mandates that private schools allot 25% of their seats to children from disadvantaged sections and provide tuition, books and uniforms free of charge, with the government reimbursing the schools later.

A policy note by the school education department said the government had allocated Rs 25.13 crore for the implementation of the RTE Act in 2013-14. It said 49,864 children received admission under the Act that year.

Elango said the government owed the public an account of how it used the funds meant for RTE. “The state has not only inflated numbers to get more funds, but has also delayed reimbursal of tuition fees and other expenses to private schools,” he said. “Many private schools collect fees from underprivileged students admitted under the RTE Act because of the delay.”

About the education secretary’s rebuttal of the charges, Elango said since departments use errors in tabulation as an excuse the SPI had collected data from districts individually. “The numbers given by the school education department match the RTI data from all 32 districts,” Elango said. “How can anyone say there was a tabulation error?”

SPI state secretary Jai Ganesh said the government had failed to implement the RTE Act. “The government has given a short period for the public to submit applications at private schools under the Act,” Ganesh said. “Many disadvantaged students fail to get admission because of this.”

Source: Times of India

TamilNadu | Right To Education in TN: Lesson in window dressing

Chennai: Claim Of 1.36 Lakh Admissions In 2 Yrs Inflated; State Subverts Key Goals Of Education Act

Since its introduction in 2009, the state government in Tamil Nadu has been rather lukewarm in imple menting programmes under Right To Education (RTE). Loopholes in the guidelines have allowed the state to underperform -in admission of poor students, reimbursement to schools, etc.
In his budget speech this year, chief minister O Panneerselvam had claimed that 1.36 lakh admissions were made under RTE in the last two academic years, which amounts to just 11% of the total allocated seats under RTE. But even this figure is inflated and has been reached bending the central RTE guidelines.

State government officials say that the aim of providing free education for all is being achieved through government schools by financially supporting students from poor sections. But a key goal of RTE ­ encouraging private schools in the neighbourhood to take these students ­ has been largely ignored.Considered a major social engineering venture of the UPA government, the act may have already got an honourable burial in the state since observers note that the Narendra Modi regime has been less than enthusiastic about many centrally sponsored schemes including RTE.

RTE Act says that admissions can be made only for students between age 6 and 14. While Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan has separately recorded admissions in kindergarten and class 1, the district information system for education has added them up and listed it under RTE admissions.

Besides, an RTI reply has revealed that students were given admissions into schools that were not within the prescribed one kilometre radius of the child’s house. In some cases, the form 4-A details, filled during the admission by the parent, revealed that children of parents who earned more than Rs10 lakh were admitted under RTE, while only children in the economically weaker section are eligi ble. An analysis by Accountability Initiative of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), New Delhi, pointed out that the RTE numbers include admissions made under the disadvantaged sections (other than forward community) that may not be from the economically weaker sections.

Activists attribute two major reasons for poor admissions in private schools under RTE. Early admissions by private schools leave no space for the 25% RTE reservation.“The state government framed a law stating that private schools, irrespective of the board they are affiliated to should conduct admissions for kindergarten only in May, which is a month before the commencement of the new academic year,“ says K Mahalingam, an executive council member of Federation for Students’ Education Rights.“But schools complete admissions five months in advance leaving no room for kids to be admitted under RTE,“ he said.

Unavailability of reimbursement of fee by the state government has practically killed RTE in private schools. Private Schools Association president R Visalakshi says the reimbursements have not been made since RTE was implemented in Tamil Nadu.“ T h e g ove r n ment must understand that fees are the major source of income for private schools. If we are losing 20%-25% of our income under RTE admissions and continue to do it without being paid the reimbursements, it is not feasible in the long run.“

RT E o f f e r s only free educa tion while other expenses like transport, stationery, and uniform should be borne by the student in a private school. “So only middle class and upper middle class parents who can bear the expenses seek admission in private schools under RTE,“ said Visalakshi.

But education officials defend TN’s record. The department’s principal sec retary D Sabitha said, “Tamil Nadu’s RTE models have been appreciated as one of the best in the country. And, the amount of work done to provide free education speaks for itself.“

Sabitha said that the state has spent nearly Rs 5,000 crores on RTE in the last two years. “14 components like uniforms are provided free for students in government schools under the Act,” she said. When asked about reimbursements, Sabitha said, “The funds for 2013-14 are being processed by the state government, and for 2014-15 the proposals have been sent to the Centre.“

Source: The Times Group