Pune | MESTA to take rally to edu dept over RTE fee reimbursements

Pune: English-medium schools organisation says it is becoming difficult to sustain operations

After being repeatedly snubbed by the state education department over long-standing promises of fee reimbursements under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, as many as 10,000 English-medium schools across the state — members of the Maharashtra English School Trustees Association (MESTA) — have decided take out a rally to the education commissionerate office in Pune on August 7.

According to MESTA, they have been hearing for a while from the state education department that they would be receiving reimbursement amounts, but not a single school has received these so far.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, MESTA president Sanjay Tayde Patil said, “It seems the government is not at all interested in implementing the Act properly. For the last four years, they have not been able to pay us our fee reimbursements as mandated under the RTE Act.”

He added that the entire RTE Act is undoubtedly efficient — however, it is only the lethargic attitude of the government that has messed up the implementation of 25 per cent admissions to economically disadvantaged children.

“We even had two meetings with education minister Vinod Tawde, but he has failed to understand the issues and concerns of schools. We have been receiving empty promises on the reimbursement issue for too long,” Patil said.

MESTA spokesperson Rajendra Singh said, “It has been very difficult for small English-medium schools to carry out their daily functioning for a long time now. All of them have been facing an acute financial crunch because of zero fee reimbursements for the last four years.” He added that the situation is quite grave in rural areas, where even parents whose wards are in the 75 per cent category are often unable to pay full fees. If the government is not paying reimbursements in such cases, schools will find it difficult to survive.

Singh added, “Since the government has turned adeaf ear to our demands, we will storm into the education commissioner’s office this Friday.”

Source: Pune Mirror

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