Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Private schools will have to bear initial education act quota cost

Private schools will have to bear initial education act quota cost

MUMBAI: Private unaided schools providing free and compulsory education to marginalized sections under the Right to Education (RTE) Act might have to absorb most of the financial burden initially. The state government has plans to pay the reimbursement amount to schools in two instalments: The first in July, and the second only at the end of an academic year in April. The state government, however, has not yet made budgetary provisions for reimbursement grants for the current fiscal. Officials said that supplementary grants would be raised during the monsoon session of the state assembly.
On the basis of a Supreme Court judgment pronounced on April 12 this year on the RTE norm, all unaided nonminority schools are required to admit 25% children from “weaker sections” and “disadvantaged groups” in Class-I (or at the entry level) starting this academic year in June.
The RTE Act stipulates that unaided schools shall be reimbursed monetarily, but the amount will be on par with the per-child-expenditure incurred by the state in aided, government and semi-government schools or the “actuals charged for a student”, whichever is less.
For the current year, the reimbursement grant amounts to Rs 10,217 per child. With the norm applicable to more than 9,744 unaided non-minority schools, the state government has decided to split the grant amount. An official said that a mechanism is being planned to ensure that the fund flow is consistent. One of the primary concerns of many schools is whether the government will adequately compensate them for admitting children from marginalized sections.
The Act has a clause relieving the government from reimbursing those schools that have availed of grants in the form of land concessions, building, equipment, etc-to the extent of the value of the benefit. But a senior education department official said that at this stage the state has no plan to press this clause.
Under a policy to encourage private participation in schools and improving the quality of education, the state government has followed a policy of allotting lands at concessional lease rents to institutions. A majority of the unaided institutions have been allotted lands under the policy. The lease rents of many among these run into 99 years and above. “It would be unfair to bill these concessional rents as a benefit and deny grants to schools,” a senior education department official said.
It could also involve legal complications.
The Times of India, 19 May 2012

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