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Schools told to make up for poor RTE intake in ’13

Reservation of seats, Right to Education

27-03-2014

The Times of India

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu has not even met half its targeted number of admissions in matriculation schools for the 2013-14 academic year under the 25% reservation clause of the Right To Free and Compulsory Education Act.

Matriculation schools across the state admitted only 40% of the 58,619 students from poor and underprivileged backgrounds that the state wanted to admit at the entry level class in private unaided schools.

And, more than one-fourth of the matriculation schools did not admit even one underprivileged student under the clause.

This admission by the government has come in the form of a warning to private unaided schools this year, just before the third year deadline of the RTE Act expires on April 1. A directorate of matriculation schools circular to matriculation schools and chief educational officers in various districts took a strong view of self-financing educational institutions failing to admit students under the Act.

“This record is not acceptable at any level. After the central government enacted the Act and the state government notified it and issued appropriate government orders, we continue to get complaints about schools not admitting students,” the circular said. Schools will have to make up for this in the coming academic year by filling up all 25% seats allocated for underprivileged children in the locality, it said.

Schools have been getting away with not meeting the 25% reservation target by claiming that nobody falling under the category had sought admission. The directorate has said it will not take no for an answer this time and has placed the onus on schools to publicise the availability of seats through local media.

Federation of Associations of Private Schools in Tamil Nadu secretary Elangovan D C said very few students and parents came to schools seeking admission under the clause last year. “The state must first confirm our reimbursements before making these demands on us. The reimbursements for last year’s admissions have still not come.”

Earlier, a senior school education department had said, “We have forwarded schools’ claims for reimbursement to the Centre, but they have not got back to us with the money. It’s going to be hard to convince schools to give admissions to underprivileged students this year if they don’t get last year’s refund.” The official said Tamil Nadu was among the few states that managed to get so many thousands of underprivileged students admitted in the school of their choice.

Schools have been told to calculate 25% of the intake at the entry level class, inform the district committee of the number of seats available for admission of underprivileged children and publish this number on their notice boards by April 2. Applications should be given out from May 3 to 9 and filled-in forms received within the week. Schools are to display admitted candidates’ names by May 14.

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