Saturday, March 8, 2014

Five years after RTE, private schools still to be reimbursed

Five years after RTE, private schools still to be reimbursed

Vivek Gupta, Hindustan Times  CHANDIGARH, March 07, 2014
First Published: 10:49 IST(7/3/2014) | Last Updated: 10:51 IST(7/3/2014)
In clear violation of provisions of the Right to Education ( RTE) Act, 2009, private unaided schools in the union territory continue to await reimbursement for admissions done under the Act for the past three years.
Even as private schools were reimbursed to the tune of ` 825 per child and ` 860 per child for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic sessions respectively, the education department is yet to reimburse them for 2012-13 and 2013-14.
The department’s liability has further increased by the fact that the process of admissions for the next academic session is already over and schools are set to begin their new session in April.
The RTE Act mandates private schools that enrol 25% of its students from economically weaker sections and underprivileged communities will be reimbursed for admission to entry-level classes by the education department in accordance with the prevailing reimbursement rate.
While there was confusion over the amount to be reimbursed, the matter was settled last year after the Punjab & Haryana High Court ruled that the reimbursement must be made for only 10% of the students belonging to the above mentioned categories as schools are bound to admit the rest of the 15% candidates free of cost under the UT administration’s subsidised land allotment policy.
“How can the administration expect private schools to implement the RTE provisions in their true spirit when the education department is not ready to reimburse schools on time?” asked Chandigarh Independent School Association president HS Mamik.
According to him, though most schools in the city implement the provisions in their admission process the department continues to ignore its obligations.
“If the current academic session is taken into account, the reimbursement is now due for the three years but the department seems to be in no hurry to reimburse us. It appears to flouting the rules much more than the private schools,” he said.
Stating that private schools get no external funding and may therefore need the funds, DAV School, Sector 15 principal Rakesh Sachdeva said the department must reimburse the schools on time.
Meanwhile, the reimbursement file has been stuck at the UT finance department for the last five months after the education department sent it the file last September for its approval of the per child reimbursement rate for 2012-13.
“We are however hopeful of its approval at the earliest,” said a senior education department official.
However with the election model code of conduct now in place, insiders in the department believe the matter is likely to get delayed further.

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