Saturday, February 8, 2014

2 years on, Chennai schools yet to get reimbursed under RTE Act

2 years on, Chennai schools yet to get reimbursed under RTE Act

CHENNAI: It has been two years since children from weaker sections of society got the right to free education at sought-after schools in the city. However, the schools are yet to be reimbursed by the government even though the next academic year's admissions are set to open.

There is no clarity on when, how much and who — whether the state or the central government — will pay the schools for taking in children under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

The Act, which mandates that private schools allot 25% of seats at the entry level for the disadvantaged sections, was notified in Tamil Nadu in November 2011. Schools that take in such students are to be paid by the government later.

No data is available on RTE admissions during 2012-13, but schools claim to have admitted students during the year. At least 7,786 schools in Tamil Nadu, which admitted more than 50,000 students during 2013-14, are to be reimbursed.

RTE activists said the delay could discourage schools, which are already reluctant to admit children under RTE. "Some schools are charging children and telling them that the money will be given back once they get it from the government," said K Murthy, Tamil Nadu state convener for RTE Forum, a group comprising 10,000 NGOs across India.

"There are no clear guidelines on reimbursements — whether it will be granted separately or given as part of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan funds. Schools are asking us for funds, but we are helpless," said an SSA official.

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