Chennai | In high literacy Tamil Nadu, RTE = Right to exclude

CHENNAI: Belying its standing as the 14th most literate state in the country and, with Kerala, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh, its position as one of the four most literate large states in India, Tamil Nadu has been particularly disappointing in its implementation of the Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

Five years after the act came into effect on April 1, 2010, Tamil Nadu’s enrolment of students under the legislation, which guarantees education to all children in the age-group of six to 14, stands at a mere 11.3%, much lower than the national average of 29%. Like all other states in the country , Tamil Nadu also failed to meet the extended deadline of March 31, 2015 set by the government for complete implementation of the act.

These figures were provided by the ‘State of the Nation: RTE Section 12 (c)’ report recently released by IIM-Ahmedabad, Central Square Foundation, Accountability Initiative and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy .

The RTE Act mandates 25% reservation for children from underprivileged sections in private unaided schools. The report, however, shows that of the 1.43 lakh RTE seats for students in Tamil Nadu, the state managed to fill only 16,194 seats till the end of the academic year 2013-14. Of around 16,000 seats, the state filled 9,896 in rural areas and 6,298 in urban areas.

In recording 11.3% of enrolments under the RTE Act in 2013-14, the state performed only marginally better than it had the previous year, when the figure was only 8.8 %. Tamil Nadu has the third-lowest enrolment rate among the 10 states with the largest availability of seats under the legislative provision. By contrast, Madhya Pradesh, with 88.24%, accounted for the highest enrolment rate and Rajasthan too managed a more than creditable 69.38%.

School participation too was poor in the state, with only 1,392 of 10,758 private schools admitting at least one student, or a participation rate of 12.94%.

IIM-A ‘s Sunaina said the researchers found that there was no clarity in many states regarding measures to implement the RTE Act. “Deadlines are useless if the stakeholders are not aware of the measures they have to take to effectively implement the act,” she said, adding that this could delay making universal education a reality .

The study primarily relied on District Information System of Education (DISE) data, Professor Ankur Sarin of IIM-A said. He said the researchers found discrepancies when they stacked up the data against information from other sources. “DISE data is the most comprehensive government data available but we found the numbers to be inconsistent in various states when compared with data from Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, school and state websites and responses to RTI applications,” he said.

He said the government would have to develop accurate data collection methods to measure the progress made in universal education.

Source: The Times of India

TamilNadu | State Below National Average in RTE: Study

Chennai: 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: The New Indian Express

Coimbatore | Students penalised for non-payment of school fees

The parents of two girl children have alleged that a private school in the district had made the girls stand outside the classroom for the past one week as the Government was yet pay their fees. The students were admitted under the Right To Education (RTE) Act, which mandated the private schools to set aside 25 per cent of their total seats for students from disadvantaged groups or weaker sections.

B. Nazeer, the girl’s father, submitted a petition to Sub-Collector (Pollachi) Rashmi Sidharth Jagade during the district administration grievances meeting conducted at Pollachi on Monday.

The Union and the State share the fees on 65:35 ratio, and should disburse them to private schools in September and January. Private schools have complained that they were yet to get the reimbursement amount for even a student so far in the past three years. In his petition, Mr. Nazeer said that the girls were admitted to L.K.G in the beginning of the current academic year under the RTE Act. However, following the Government’s failure to reimburse the fees, the school had begun harassing the girls and had asked them to pay the fees of Rs.25,000.

He claimed that they had been made to stand outside of the class for the last one week.

He urged the district administration to take action against the private school.

The Sub Collector assured him that the administration would look into the issue.

They were made to stand outside the classroom for a week

Source: The Hindu

Street plays to create awareness on provisions of RTE Act

To ensure that people in the district are aware of the provisions in the Right to Education Act, 2009 or Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, street plays will be staged at 200 public places for a period of one month.

Organised by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), five cultural troupes, each with eight members, will stage five street plays with six songs and explain the provisions in the Act so that no children is left out in attending the schools.

“It is essential that the rights of children are ensured and people are aware of it,” said the officials.

According to the officials, the artistes will stage plays with wide variety of folk songs to disseminate the message among the villagers. Instead of distributing awareness pamphlets and placing banners in villages, the message through plays reaches them easily and will have impact.

Called as ‘kalajatha’, the plays will be conducted in 21 educational blocks between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day till February-end. Each troupe will conduct two plays in places where public gather at large.

Artistes said that they were trained professionally to disseminate the message and the response from the people was also encouraging. The campaign was inaugurated by Collector K. Maharabushanam in the presence of officials from SSA.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/street-plays-to-create-awareness-on-provisions-of-rte-act/article6850743.ece

Tamilnadu: CBSE schools in Chennai begin online RTE25 admissions

Several leading CBSE schools in the city started online admissions for nursery sections on Monday. And, parents had only good things to say about the initiative.

SBOA School and Junior College, Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram, all three Chinmaya Vidyalayas in Anna Nagar, Kilpauk and Virugambakkam, and Maharishi Vidya Mandir were among those that opened counters so parents could buy and fill in applications online. Most of the schools are keeping counters open for two days, and some are keeping it open longer for candidates filing applications under the 25% reservation clause of the RTE.

Many parents said they were satisfied with the new systems and thrilled at not having to stand in queues for hours together for applications. Architect C J Kosalraman said Monday’s experience, when he was able to seek admission for his second child by applying online, was very different from the ordeal he endured five years ago for his first child. “I remember standing in a queue in front of a school in Anna Nagar in the rain armed with just an umbrella at 2am to get the application. I am so relieved I didn’t have to go through the same experience this time,” said Kosalraman, who is seeking admission at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram in Kilpauk.

Senior principal of the school, Ajeeth Prasath Jain, said the institution had perfected the system over the years to automatically avoid duplication, streamline application under the RTE, alumni and general categories and to include online submission of forms. “The online system has made the process easier for schools as well. Now, we can download the data easily and analyse it. Once the child is admitted his data can be uploaded into the school registry in a single click,” he said.

A parent who downloaded an online admission application for Chinmaya Vidyalaya said the system appeared more transparent than the offline process. “There was always the fear of being left behind because of a first-come-first-served policy in the offline system. Here there is no such problem and we can log in from any part of the country or even overseas. The only thing left is for these schools to make admissions more transparent is to hold an open house before the admission process to tell parents what the school has to offer and field questions from parents,” he said.

The online system has made the process easier for schools as well. Now, they can download the data easily and analyse it. Once the child is admitted the data can be uploaded into the school registry in a single click

Source: TOI http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/CBSE-schools-in-city-begin-online-admissions/articleshow/46180479.cms

TN: CBSE schools brought under DSE for RTE Act implementation

Tamil Nadu Government has issued a notification bringing all schools affiliated to boards other than state boards under the control of its Director of School Education for implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

This was stated in a submission by Government Pleader Krishna Kumar before a bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M. Sathyanarayanan of Madras High Court during the hearing of a PIL.

The petition by one A.V.Pandian sought to implement the provisions of the RTE Act in respect of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools and action against schools functioning without recognition in the state.

Recording the submission, the bench disposed of the PIL, saying in view of the September 19, 2014 notification, “learned counsel for the petitioner states that no further directions are required in this petition other than effective implementation of the same. The writ petition thus stands disposed of.”

Petitioner had contended that when the CBSE regulations and the RTE Act made it mandatory for all the schools including CBSE to obtain recognition from the state authorities, the CBSE schools were let loose without any proper monitor or enforcement of the act in the state.

The state government had failed to prescribe the competent authority to grant recognition for CBSE schools on the basis of the RTE Act.