Private schools say education department has not paid dues for underprivileged kids
The state government’s failure to remit funds to city schools for educating children from weaker sections under the Right to Education (RTE) Act has left the institutions in a tight spot.
According to rules, schools are supposed to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for such children for whom the state is supposed to pay the fees. The government has to provide Rs 400 per child per month to the school concerned.
Shamael Ahmad, president of Private School and Children Welfare Association, said on Monday that the private schools in Patna did not receive funds from the government in the past two years.
He added: “The 2015-2016 financial year is about to end on March 31 but no school has received funds for the corresponding academic session for which free admission had to be given under the 25 per cent quota rule of RTE Act.”
Baldwin Academy School principal Rajiv Ranjan Sinha said: “Our school has been registered under the RTE Act for the past five years. For the first and the last time, the school received funds for underprivileged kids in the 2013-14 financial year. Last year, the school administration appealed to the officials of the Bihar Education Project Council for the same. They assured that more funds would be remitted to us further but we never got any such notification again.”
Similar were the experiences of Patna Central School and Krishna Niketan. Both last received funds in the 2013-14 academic session.
Coomar Arunodaya, vice-chairman of both the schools, said the education department must follow the rules and regulations in the same spirit as it expects schools to do.
“This delay is unacceptable, considering that we have been following all norms,” Arunodaya said. “In the 2013-14 financial year, our schools received Rs 90,000 separately for underprivileged kids. The government should also focus on education and take it seriously.”
An official of Gyan Niketan School, requesting anonymity, said the school had been operating without fees for the 25 per cent reserved seats from the government for the past five years: “Despite the registration under RTE quota, the school never received funds from the state. Still we give admission to students from weaker sections of the society without charging any fee.”
Other schools such as DAV Public School, May Flower School and Baldwin Sofia School also did not get the funds for the same.
The state government has claimed that private schools are not implementing the RTE Act norms properly.
“The quota for 25 per cent students belonging to weaker and disadvantaged groups in private schools across the state has not been implemented effectively though the government is serious about it,” education minister Ashok Choudhary said in the Legislative Council on March 18.
Principal education secretary D.S. Gangwar said the files to sanction the money to private schools registered under the RTE Act had been sent to the finance department for approval.
Source : The Telegraph