Hyderabad | RTE: Govt schools fear closure

Hyderabad: Officials of Department of School Education apprehend that if 25% reservation for poorer students is implemented, government schools may lose out to private ones

Right to Education (RTE) Act is prized as a cure-all as far as providing education to marginalised section of society. But the officials in the Telangana State Department of School Education (DSE) believe it otherwise. Even as the Chief Minister, K Chandrashekar Rao and Minister for Education Kadiyam Srihari are making all efforts to ensure that private schools comply with 25 per cent reservation for the students from poor background, the DSE officials are apprehensive that if the reservation policy is enforced, the government schools may lose out to the private schools.

The DSE officials have already prepared guidelines for implementation of the RTE Act, but the file has been pending for clearance from the higher-ups for past few months. They are of the view that the effective implementation of the Act may sound death knell for the government schools in the State.

They say that as the government would give financial assistance to the students joining under 25 per cent quota in private schools, there may be an exodus of students from government schools to private educational institutions, forcing several State-run schools to shut.

The officials are also apprehensive that effective implementation of Act may give rise to mushrooming of private schools in the state as they would get fee reimbursement. An official of DSE cited the example of mushrooming of engineering colleges after fee reimbursement scheme was introduced.

According to a rough estimate by the DSE, the government will be forced to bear Rs 150 crore burden yearly towards fee reimbursement and over the years the reimbursement may shoot up to Rs 1,200 crore annually.

Source: The Hans India

Hyderabad | NGOs demand de-recognition of schools for RTE Act non-compliance

Hyderabad: A group of NGOs in the city have formed a Joint Action Committee (JAC) to ensure the effective implementation of Right to Education (RTE) Act. The NGOs comprising COVA, DBSU, Divya Disha, Mahita, MSI, MVF, People’s Alliance for Child Rights, Montfort Social Institute and UFERWAS will take up a public awareness campaign to enable Below Poverty Line (BPL) families apply for free admissions to private schools.

The RTE Act states that 25 per cent of admissions in all non- minority private schools across the country will be given free of cost to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and State Governments will compensate private schools with an annual fee. “If any are denied admissions, we will approach the government and the court for redress,” stated a release by the NGOs.

“Many states have implemented the free admission rule to some extent except in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The information compiled from media articles, websites and other sources state that 1.75 lakh seats across the two Telugu states should be reserved for the weaker sections of the community but none of the seats have been filled up in the previous two academic years,” the release added.

A writ petition was filed by these NGOs at the Hyderabad High Court in March to implement the RTE Act. In response, the Director of School Education, Telangana State, issued orders to the Regional Joint Director, School Education, Hyderabad and Warangal, to act accordingly for the academic year 2015-16.

The NGOs have demanded that the private schools, including those offering the CBSE and ICSE syllabi, should reserve seats and submit a compliance report to the education department within three months of the commencement of the academic year. They have also demanded that schools should be derecognised if they fail to reserve the requisite seats.

Source: The Hans India

Hyderabad | Fat cheques for quality education

Hyderabad: With admissions open in private schools, parents struggle to find affordable education for their children

It is now close to six years since the Right to Education Act (RTE) came into force but students in the state are still waiting to reap the benefits of this act. The right of children to free elementary education is still denied to many children as key provisions of the act are yet to be implemented. And free education means no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or other expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing primary education. But the truth is far from this rosy definition.

The admission process in schools is cake walk for those who can afford today’s expensive education. There is a plethora of choices and an easy process. But those with limited budgets find themselves dealing with institutions that run businesses. “To seek an admission into a good play school, one has to shell out anywhere between 60,000 to one lakh rupees. Just imagine the fees of primary and secondary education.

It’s the exorbitant fees and the high-handed functioning of private schools that is making the whole admission process a bitter experience. The order to regulate the fees in these private schools should be implemented soon,” rued Prabhakar Mudiraj, a parent seeking admission for his four-year-old son.

The news of the RTE Act came as a respite to socially and economically backward students. But many parents are still unaware that corporate schools have to set aside 25 per cent of their seats for those who can’t afford education. And the private institutions are more than willing to capitalise on this ignorance and shut their gates on them. The RTE Act enables the states to prepare their own model rules or list of benefits that can be offered to the students. But most of the private schools in the city are only hiking their fee structures.

A security guard of a plush private school in the city dreams of educating his daughter in the same school but calls the admission process a ‘pricey affair’. “It’s every parent’s dream to ensure that his child gets educated in a school with good infrastructure, well-equipped classrooms, library, labs and transport among other facilities. But I am forced to send my daughter to a government school in West Maredpally.

When my daughter comes to visit me at the school, the sight of the classrooms and students makes her feel sad and left out.” On consulting the administration to see if his daughter had a chance to secure admission in the school, he received a rather ‘frank’ feedback from the staff, who believed he was aiming for something beyond his reach.

Another parent, Vidya Rani, rues, “Our child would have made it to a good school had this act come into play. Quality education cannot be expected from the small private schools that we can afford. So now we are forced to make ends meet to be able to enroll our child in an A-list school”.

Mithali Panchal, who children study at Delhi Public School, also agrees. “The whole education system seems more like a business. What makes it worse is that the painful process does not end with admission and donations. We have to continue shelling out money for school uniforms, books and other expenses and that adds to the pressure. We moved from Maharashtra to Telangana three years ago and I can say that this State lags far behind in providing quality education and facilities.”

Source: The Hans India