Move to fix RTE reimbursement at Rs 750 dismays private schools

  • Vivek Gupta, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 21, 2014 12:46 IST

After a gap of nearly one year, the education department approved the per child reimbursement rate to the tune of Rs 750 per student per month to private schools for admitting students belonging to weaker sections for financial year 2012-13.

However, as told by local private schools, the amount approved has come too late and too little. The schools were reimbursed to the tune of Rs 860 per child for two consecutive session — 2010-11 and 2011-12. However, the reimbursement rate for 2012-13 has further gone down.

A school head rued: “First we are being paid after almost one-and-a-half years and now the amount to be reimbursed is also not adequate.” The reimbursement will be paid to private schools against students belonging to the weaker sections of the society and underprivileged group under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

HS Mamik, president of the Independent Schools Association, Chandigarh, said the schools completely opposed the rate and this would further lead to distrust between private schools and the education department.

“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 adequately and on time?” asked Mamik, adding that the association would write to the department to review the rate, considering the expenses involved in running private schools and if this did not happen, the private schools would not move an inch over this issue in the coming session, he said.

Stating that private schools get no external funding and may, therefore, need more funds, another school head said if the current academic session was taken into account, the reimbursement was due for last three years (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15) “The RTE Act mandates that every private school reserve 25% seats at the entry level for children from weaker sections of the society and underprivileged communities and in return we will be reimbursed. If such is the level of reimbursement, we will not admit students from next session,” he said. According to information, the annual recurring expenditure of the education department is taken into consideration for the calculation of the per child reimbursement in UT.

Sources in the education department said the reimbursement amount for 2012-13 had gone down because the education department’s annual expenditure on elementary education during the financial year 2012-2013 was found low as compared to the previous years.

The annual recurring expenditure comprises total salaries of the education department, wages, medical, office expenses and maintenance charges, besides mid-day meal expenditure.

According to officials, there is no chance that the finance department will revise the per child reimbursement because the criteria adopted is in consonance with the RTE Act, 2009, which the act in its chapter 4 states that private schools will be reimbursed to the extent of per child expenditure incurred by the state or UT.

Meanwhile, a senior official in the education department said the department had directed the private schools to send them the details of poor students admitted in 2012-13 before July 22 after that only the reimbursement would start. Sources said the number of schools getting the reimbursement was expected to increase because children admitted under the RTE Act had increased in 2012-13 in private schools.

The UT is one of the few places in the country to finalise the per child reimbursement under the RTE Act. The reimbursement amount for session 2010-11 and 2011-12 has already been remitted to the private schools of the city.

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