Coimbatore: As many as 24 private matriculation schools in Coimbatore have failed to admit even a single student this year under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which mandated all private schools to set aside 25 per cent of their seats to disadvantaged and weaker sections.
With 276 schools, Coimbatore has among the highest number of matriculation schools for a single district in Tamil Nadu.
Sources in the Directorate of Matriculation Schools told The Hindu on Saturday that the School Education Department began issuing notices seeking explanation within a week’s time. The schools have also been asked to keep the seats vacant as its details would soon be uploaded on to a website, to enable parents to apply .
In Coimbatore, the total number of seats in entry-level classes of L.K.G. and Standard I was 15,546 seats, of which 3,985 have been set aside for RTE Act quota. However, only 2,453 have been filled, according to the School Education Department committee on the RTE Act.
As per Government Order No: 60, private schools must display the list of students admitted under RTE Act by July 17. In schools where the applications exceed available seats, lots must be drawn on July 22. However, unfilled seats must be kept vacant till September-October.
Till this year, implementation of the RTE Act was spotty due to reluctance of private school as they had not reimbursed the fee of students admitted in the past three years. However, with Rs. 97 crore being allocated this year, the State government has begun scrutinising the admission process.
However, R. Visalakshi, president of Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association, questioned this move and said that this amounted to threatening private schools. Such notices should be issued only to schools accused of irregularities in admission process.
“If no parent asks for an application from a private school, how can the institution be held at fault? Such action must be limited to schools charged with not accepting duly completed applications,” she added.
Other board schools
On the other hand, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) youth wing secretary V. Eswaran said that the State government must extend these measures to schools affiliated to other boards such as Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE).
“The State government is the implementing authority for the RTE Act. However, both the Chief Educational Officer and the Inspector of Matriculation Schools have said that other board schools do not come under their purview and hence, they cannot collect details of vacant seats in those schools,” he said.
Mr. Eswaran, who has campaigned for implementing this Act, noted that the State government, through the Justice S.R Singaravelu-led Committee, fixed the fees for schools of all boards in Tamil Nadu.
Source: The Hindu