Coimbatore: The Centre’s decision to include RTE admissions in kindergarten, may bring relief to some parents who could not have previously admitted their 3 and 4-year-old children to private schools, but it has completely relieved the state government of its responsibility to provide access to free education at the kindergarten level. Since there is no kindergarten in state government schools, it will impact enrolment, especially in rural areas.
On Saturday, the Centre told the Madras high court that kindergarten admissions would also be covered under the ambit of Right to Education, clearing the confusion over the reimbursement for private schools, that has been due for three years now.
Under RTE that was implemented in Tamil Nadu in 2012, private schools must reserve 25% seats for admission under this category. As per the rules, private schools would be reimbursed the tuition fees they have spent towards the education of the child admitted under RTE.
The absence of kindergarten in government schools, and the clearance by the Centre to cover kindergarten admissions in private schools under RTE, will help the state government reduce its expenditure on RTE. “The Centre’s decision will hamper enrolment in elementary and private schools in rural areas. When parents are eligible for free education in private schools, they are likely to opt for a private school over a government school,” the official said.
“In the last two years, I have observed that elementary school enrolment has dipped. In many primary schools in rural areas, children across all ages sit in the same classroom,” she said.