Nagpur: The tussle over Right To Education (RTE) quota admission and its reimbursements looks to be heading for a faceoff. On Thursday, a small group of private schools from Nagpur city approached the education department and questioned why they should continue to give RTE admissions when the government has paid only 66% of their bills. Schools are also learnt to be mulling the option of stopping RTE admissions for 2016-17, at least for sometime, to send a strong message to the government.
The school delegation met with district education officer Dipendra Lokhande and stressed on the “financial crisis” they are facing due to RTE bills not being reimbursed fully. Avantika Lekurwale, a school trustee, said, “The government has paid us just over two thirds for the two academic sessions 2012-14. Nothing has been paid for 2014-15 even though the 2015-16 academic session is almost over. The government must give in writing about what step we should take regarding RTE admissions.”
Many trustees believe stopping RTE admissions maybe the only way to compel the government to pay up but are holding back because of legal implications. Having become a statutory right, school education cannot be denied to a child. Hence schools coming under the ambit of RTE admission quota, are liable to face legal action if they stop admissions. Rajendra Dayma, founder-member of the Independent English Schools Association (IESA), said, “We are discussing the issue and very soon a meeting with will be held. As of today, there is no call for boycott of admissions.”
The government wants to nip this thought in the bud itself. Nand Kumar, principal secretary of school education, said, “If any school says they have not received even a single rupee under RTE it is a fraudulent statement, and we can file a police complaint against those who make such claims. And as per law, RTE admissions cannot be denied at all.”
Kumar’s statement is only partially true. Since schools have not received even a single paisa for academic session 2014-15 and 2015-16 they do have a strong case. Rajendra Singh, president of Federation of Pvt. Unaided Schools Associations, said, “The financial burden on schools is enormous because 25% of the revenue is blocked. This puts pressure on the remaining 75% students who pay regular fees. We do not want any child to be inconvenienced, all we are asking for is what the government had promised in the first place.”
While there is no official boycott of RTE admissions yet, just the fact that schools have started thinking in that direction is clear indication the government cannot push them around anymore. A school trustee said, “It has to be a two way street. We give RTE admissions and the state reimburses. As of now, it has become one-way. It’s time to raise our voice as after all our demands are completely fair and legal.”
WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
* Private schools admit poor students in 25% seats under RTE
* State govt is supposed to pay Rs 13,000 per year/per student to schools against these students
* Schools have given admission under RTE since 2012-13 session
* They received the first payment in November 2015; that too only 66% of the bill
* This too government paid only for 2012-13 and 2013-14
* No payment yet for 2014-15 and 2015-16
* Schools say if government is not paying, why shoudn’t they stop admission
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
* Government will wait for schools to stop RTE admissions before taking action
* Schools to plan action keeping legal implications in mind
* By next week things may be clearer
580 – Schools in Nagpur district eligible for RTE reimbursements
Rs. 40 crore – approximate amount needed to cover entire bill from 2012-14 to 2015-16
Rs 3 crore – approximate amount received so far
Source : The Times Of India