The UT education department is receiving a lot of flak from several private schools of the city for not following the Right to Education (RTE) guidelines. Many private schools have alleged that they enroll students from economically weaker sections (EWS) under the prescribed quota, but the department has failed to reimburse them since last three years for the same.
This comes after the education department issued notices to all private schools in the city recently regarding reimbursement against admission to EWS students during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 sessions.
According to a circular issued by the district education officer last week, it was stated that a total of Rs 750 per month per student have been fixed as reimbursement under Section 12.1(c) of the RTE Act.
The circular refers to the decision taken in the presence of the former UT adviser during the eighth meeting of the state advisory council (education department) in February, the reimbursement for the aforementioned years was being made on the rate already approved for 2012-13 (Rs 750). However, the circular had asked the schools concerned to send their details regarding land allotment clause, total number of seats in entry class, total number of seats reserved for EWS, per child per month expenditure, so that final adjustments could be made accordingly.
While the first letter issued to all schools had asked for these details from 2013 to 2014, this was followed by another letter asking per child expenditure for 2015-16 as well to be submitted by Monday. Commenting on the issue, HS Mamik, president of the Independent Schools’ Association (ISA), Chandigarh, said, “It is easy to point fingers at schools and blame them for everything. The department must understand that if one starts calculating the amount, it will be as much as Rs 3,000 in terms of per child expenditure. The department has neither reimbursed the money for four years, nor fixed the amount.”
Meanwhile, principal of New Public School RD Singh said, “How could the UT take four years to decide how much schools have to be reimbursed for enrolling the EWS students?”
Referring to information obtained under the RTI, Singh further added that city schools aren’t even abiding by the student-teacher ratio. “While the department might show 30 students enrolled in a class as per the RTE, there are about 60 students in a class. Besides, the teacher strength is supposed to be 1.5 for every 40 students, but these norms are not being adhered to. These vacancies need to be taken into consideration before determining the amount.”
Director, school education, Rupinderjit Singh Brar said, “The final amount is not yet fixed. While Rs 750 might have been stated in the letter, we will take a final call only when we receive the requisite information from the schools in this regard.”