Thursday, January 23, 2014

Govt to pay both schools, parents in RTE refund formula

Govt to pay both schools, parents in RTE refund formula

M Ramya, TNN Aug 7, 2013, 07.24AM IST

CHENNAI: After two years of silence on the issue, the state school education board has come out with a formula to compensate private unaided schools for educating underprivileged children admitted under the 25% reservation clause of the RTE Act.
Officials said in addition to compensating school managements for tuition cost incurred, parents will also be compensated for money spent on uniforms and books. "The expense of educating a child does not stop with the tuition fee. We are taking into consideration all expenses incurred , including money spent on uniforms and books, while making the calculation," said R Pitchai, director of matriculation schools.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan wing of the school education department will be in charge of the reimbursements, sources said. The reimbursement amount will be calculated based on the fee structure of schools drawn up by the Justice Singaravelu fee determination committee.
It could also be based on the amount spent on the education of a child in a government school in a year , whichever is lower . Schools are expected to get the reimbursement in two installments - one in September 2013 and the next in January 2014.
Tamil Nadu notified the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act in 2011, but kept mum on the subject of reimbursement till date . Few schools took the 25% reservation clause seriously in the 2012-13 academic year , registering only around 1,500 to 2,000 admissions . Of those who did, many have asked the students to pay fees this year because the state did not make any mention of reimbursement for the students admitted .
"Every time we asked the education department officials would give vague answers , saying that we will get the reimbursement , without giving usthe actualdateor the amount we are likely to get . When no effort was made to give money by the end of the 2012-13 academic year , we had to ask students to pay the fees this year ," said the correspondent of a private matriculation school.
Noting thatthisdefeatsthe purpose of the reservation clause , the department has started setting up meetings with private unaided schools in some districts to inform the managements about how they would be reimbursed . Schools will be reimbursed for admissions made under any of the 13 categories , including children from SC /ST communities , those whose parents have an annual income of less than Rs2 lakh , transgenders and children of scavengers , drawn up in the RTE notification in the state .
Department officials are now conducting camps to check the certificates of the children admitted under the reservation clause to see if they are valid . "A separate audit of the school accounts will be taken up when the time comes for reimbursements ," said an SSA official in charge of RTE admissions .

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