Even though schools have been asked to start admissions under the provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE), most institutions in the city are refusing to accept new applications.
Current students too are being asked to pay backlog fees, activists say. School managements continue to insist that they will admit students through RTE only if the government reimburses them for those students already admitted. According to the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation, Higher Secondary Schools and CBSE Schools Association, the government owes private schools a sum of Rs. 150 crore. “Until the government pays us the money, it is difficult for schools to continue to support admissions under RTE,” a school principal said.
Latha (name changed), whose son studies in a school in Chetpet, said the management asked her for two years’ fee. “They have told us that we will be reimbursed once the school receives money from the government, but the only reason we opted for RTE admission was that we could not afford the fees for such a prestigious school,” she said.
A. Sreenivas of Becoming I Foundation said: “We have been referring parents to the Chief Education Officer, but even government officials have not been able to help.” The Foundation has been working with the organisation Bhumi to increase awareness on RTE admissions across the city.
Although some schools have displayed the board announcing the RTE results, most schools have not. “For the past two days, we have been asking parents to get application forms, but schools are not issuing them,” said N. Umapathy, Slum Children’s Sport Talent Education Development. His team has been working with students in Vyasarpadi to encourage them to apply to schools under RTE.
“There is very little awareness on RTE admissions and norms to be followed. The government needs to publicise RTE admissions better,” he adds.
Some schools, however, have started the free admissions. B. Purushothaman, senior principal, Everwin Group, said schools can make a profit, even if they provide free education to poor students.
School Education Department officials said they were looking into cases of violation of the Act. The State government had written to the centre asking for funds to be released for RTE admissions, but they were yet to receive it. They added that the amount is not Rs. 150 crore as claimed by school managements.
Source: The Hindu