Not all schools are happy with the state government's move to reserve 25% seats for children from economically weaker backgrounds.
Principals pointed out that in the past, the government has failed to provide aided schools their non-salary grants, which are used to make payments for electricity bills and infrastructure development.
Officials at St. Elias School, Khar claimed that the schools has not received non-salary grant from the government since 2004. "I doubt how the government will pay Rs1,000 for each child admitted under the 25% quota. The government needs to make the implementation of the Act clearer," said the principal Sister Philomena Sequeria.
"The government's proposal to pay Rs1,000 for each child is grossly inadequate. We will be forced to raise the fee for other students to cross-subsidise the education of those from underprivileged backgrounds," said a principal, requesting anonymity.
"The civic body, which runs schools in the city, spends Rs25,000 per year for every student. Yet, the quality of education in civic schools is poor. What will happen to the quality of the education when the government spends half the amount on one child," asked Sudeshna Chaterjee, principal of Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu. "Parents complain about the hygiene levels of some students. They do not like seeing students in crumpled uniforms or torn sandals sharing the same bench with their child," said another principal, not wanting to be named.
However, the government is planning to be strict with schools on the policy. "The guidelines of the Right to Education (RTE) Act have come from the Centre and all schools have to abide by them. We could de-recognise errant schools or impose a fine on them if they fail to follow the guidelines," said a senior government official from the education department.