City schools are struggling to make sense of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the 25% clause in the Right To Education Act (RTE). What’s worrying them most is how they will work out the finances.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that all unaided schools (except minority ones) would have to reserve 25% of their seats at the entry level for neighbourhood children from “weaker sections and disadvantaged groups”.
Unaided school principals are rattled, as schools will now be caught in a bind. While on the one hand the state government has said schools cannot raise their fees every year, and without Parent-Teacher Association and education department (PTA) approval, on the other, it is not clear who will pay the fees of these students.
“Who will bear the cost of an international education?” said Kavita Aggarwal, principal of DG Khetan International School in Malad. “It is not possible to revise fees either. It is a long drawn out process and can be done only once in three years.”
The Maharashtra Education-al Institutions (Regulation of Collection of Fee Act) bill was cleared in the assembly in August last year, with stringent conditions on raising fees.
The state government has not clarified yet through any resolution, how much it will compensate schools for the 25% quota students. Principals said they have heard varying reports ranging between Rs1,000 and Rs3,000 per student per month. Even so, this will be nowhere near enough, they claim.
“Will the rest of the burden fall on other students?” questioned the principal of an ICSE school in the suburbs. “There is a lot of contradiction. It is going to be tough and we have no clarity on what the government plans to do.”