Uttarakhand schools’ body to move high court for RTE dues
The Progressive School Association (PSA) — an umbrella organisation of 170 private schools in Uttarakhand — will knock on the doors of the high court against non-payment of dues under the Right to Education (RTE) Act by next week.
Despite the high court order to clear dues by March 31 this year, the government is yet to pay them. The association is gathering details of students and pending dues from schools to submit before the court.
“We will reach out to the high court for the clearance of pending dues by next week. Running schools has become a liability especially in times when the government has failed to clear the bills. Many schools aren’t able to pay salaries to their staff,” Prem Kashyap, president of the association, said.
Approximately Rs 90 crore is to be paid to over 4,000 private schools in the state under RTE. In Dehradun alone, Rs 50 lakh was distributed in July and August while nearly Rs 7 crore is still pending.
The number of students admitted under RTE in unaided schools rose from 80,000 in 2015-16 to 1.7 lakh in 2016-17. But people close to the matter claim that from the current financial year 2018-19, admissions under RTE were restricted.
Under the RTE Act, Centre gives states 65% of the cost of providing free primary education. For north-eastern states, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand, it is 90%. The state government selects students and allots them private schools, where they are granted free admission. The state government reimburses the schools at a fixed rate.
As per the provisions of the RTE Act, the Centre pays to school a monthly fee not exceeding Rs 1,383 and an annual fee of Rs 2,100 for uniform, meal and textbooks per child. Some schools even charge a nominal fee from such students.
“The central government hasn’t paid dues pending before 2015-16 which is a burden on the state exchequer,” Bhupinder Kaur Aulakh, secretary, school education, said.
As per the data available with the school education department, central government paid Rs 39.80 crore against the total expenditure of Rs 49.55 crore for the academic session 2015-16.
In 2016-17, R 81.89 crore was spent on providing education to children from underprivileged families. The Union government didn’t provide funds that year, said officials who did not want to be named.
Fee per month per child: Not exceeding Rs 1,383 per monh
Textbook and uniform fee: Rs 2,100 annually
Statistics at a glance
Total number of private unaided schools in state: 4,441
Number of private unaided schools that admitted students under RTE quota: 3,803
Total admissions under RTE in 2017-18 academic session: 1.7 lakh
(Data: State education department)