Coimbatore | Educationists Pick Holes in State Order on RTE Payment

Coimbatore: The State government’s order of providing the expenditure per child to reimburse private schools for admissions made under the RTE quota does not mention LKG expenses, defeating the very purpose of the legislation, say eductionists.

The GO 22 specifies the per-child expenditure incurred by the State government for 2014-15 from Class I to VIII, but does not give the reimbursement charges for LKG.

The Right to Education (RTE) Act enjoins that all private, non-minority, unaided schools must reserve 25 percent seats for children belonging to weaker sections.

According to the Tamil Nadu RTE Rules, the State government will reimburse the schools for these admissions. The amount will be either the State’s per-child expenditure in government schools or the fee fixed by the Private School Fee Determination Committee, whichever is less.

Education Secretary D Sabitha, speaking to Express over phone said that the Section (12)(2) of the RTE Act will be adopted for reimbursement of LKG expenditure.

In this case, the government will consider the fee fixed by the Singaravelan (Private Schools) Fee Determination Committee. But committee has fixed only the tuition fee and does not include expenditure for uniforms, textbooks and other study materials.

Section (3)(2) of the RTE Act states that no child is liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses, which may prevent the student from pursuing and completing elementary education. The Tamil Nadu RTE Rules state that children admitted under the RTE quota shall be entitled to free textbooks, writing materials and uniforms.

Educationist Prince Gajendra Babu said that the very purpose of the RTE Act — providing free and compulsory education— gets defeated as private schools are now entitled to collect fees for uniforms, textbooks and other study materials.

S Arumainathan, state president, Tamil Nadu Students-Parents Welfare Association said that most private schools charge fees up to `5,000 for uniforms, textbooks, etc, which parents from weaker sections will find difficult to pay.

Educationists say that since there is no financial memorandum clearly explaining the responsibility, governments are trying to shift the blame.

They also want the government to focus more on strengthening state-run schools instead of going after private schools.

Source: The Times of India

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