Chennai: With the State Government issuing an order to reimburse Rs 97.04 crore to private schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the latter can no longer cite reasons for not enrolling students under the RTE Act, from the coming academic year.
The private schools had, last month, expressed apprehension in admitting students under the RTE Act from the coming academic year since funds for two academic years – Rs 25.13 crore for 2013-14 and Rs 71.19 crore – had not been compensated by the government. The Tamil Nadu government had written to the Centre earlier this month, stating that the changes made to the SSA framework had resulted in non-reimbursement of expenditure incurred by schools in Tamil Nadu, amounting to Rs 97.04 crore.
On Saturday, the government issued orders sanctioning the amount to be reimbursed to the schools.
According to the Act, 25 per cent of the seats in private schools need to be reserved for disadvantaged children – children whose parents’ total yearly income comes to less than Rs 2 lakh or students from SC/ST or other backward classes, and transgenders. However, RTE activists seek more transparency in the admission procedure and calculating expenditure, pointing out that there were no specific allocations or demarcations that were made while disbursing the funds.
“The argument is that the schools can enroll whoever they want to without verifying the background and get the amount reimbursed. The question therefore is how the calculation was made and the amount arrived at. Was the procedure transparent?” questioned Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary, State Platform for Common Schooling System. He added that no clear demarcations with respect to issuing uniform, textbooks and notebooks were made. S Arumainathan, president, Tamil Nadu Student Parent Welfare Association, alleged that there were a few schools which had refused to enroll children under the RTE Act in the past two years citing lack of funds. “There are cases of schools not implementing the Act,” he said.
When contacted, an official from the School Education Department said the admissions were actually transparent, with little space for schools to escape the Act. The official added that around 90,000 had enrolled in schools under the RTE Act last academic year.
Source: The New Indian Express