UP private schools not to admit poor under RTE unless reimbursement arrears cleared

Private UP schools appeared to lock horns with the administration on Saturday with decision not to admit poor children under RTE unless the govt reimburses fees of the previous two years.

education Updated: Mar 03, 2018 20:19 IST
Rajeev Mullick
Rajeev Mullick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UP private schools,RTE,Madhusudan Dikshit
Private UP schools appeared to lock horns with the administration on Saturday with decision not to admit poor children under RTE unless the govt reimburses fees of the previous two years.(HT file)

Private schools in Uttar Pradesh appeared to lock horns with the administration on Saturday with a decision not to admit children from poor families under the right to education for the next academic session unless the government reimburses fees of the previous two years.

After a meeting of private schools, Madhusudan Dikshit, national senior vice president, and UP state president of the Independent Schools Federation of India, issued a statement saying, “Previous two years’ fee reimbursement should first be given as per Section 12(2) of the RTE Act, and only then will private unaided schools of Uttar Pradesh give fresh RTE admissions in the coming school year.”

The private schools are also upset that the state government has ‘arbitrarily’ set a reimbursement rate of Rs. 450 per month per child rather than fixing it according to the formula stipulated in Section 12(2) of the Act. Private school owners feel that this amount is completely against Section 12(2) and a clear-cut violation of the RTE Act.

“Under which section of the Act have they fixed a reimbursement rate of Rs 450 pm?” Dikshit asked.

The government claims that it hasn’t heard anything from the private school owner association.

Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma who is also in charge of secondary and higher education said he has not received any official communication from the private school owners’ association. “They have not conveyed me about this decision. Hence it will not be proper to issue any statement in this matter.” He added, “I’ll speak to the official to find out why the schools did not received reimbursement from the state government.”

In the statement, Dikshit claimed that according to Section 12(2) of the RTE Act the state shall reimburse private schools either the fee amount actually charged by the private school from children, or the per pupil expenditure in the government school system, whichever is the lower. The Uttar Pradesh government spends about Rs 5000 per month per child in its own schools which impart low quality education, whereas the fee level of private schools is much lower and yet they impart quality education. Thus, the government should reimburse schools equal to their actual fee levels, he said.

Dikshit said many private schools of Uttar Pradesh are not able to pay salaries to their teachers, nor their electricity and stationery bills etc., due to which many schools are on the brink of closure. On the one hand 75% children are bearing the burden of the 25%, but on the other the government is squeezing the fee levels of private schools. The result will be to reduce private schools’ quality to the level of government schools, he said.

Dikshit said to make India prosperous, it is important that the country produces doctors, engineers, architects, pilots, technicians and learned teachers, all of which require a high quality base of elementary and secondary education, but unfortunately, the quality of education in government schools has completely deteriorated.

He said, “Instead of fixing the poor quality of education in government schools, state government is busy with making policies to ruin private schools. It is daily making new rules and regulations for private schools, sometime on fee, sometime in the name of the right to education, and persecuting private schools.”

But deputy chief minister Sharma insisted that private schools have certain responsibility as well.

“Private schools must shoulder certain responsibility and should follow government rules,” Sharma said.

Samina Bano, an RTE activist, said the private schools’ decision was ‘very sad’.

“The reason quoted is not having received reimbursement for two years. It is clearly a conspiracy to use reimbursement as an excuse to avoid RTE admissions,” she said.

While she acknowledged that private schools haven’t received full reimbursement for the last year, Samina Bano pointed out that this was majorly due to elections, change of government and inadequate budget allocation.

Dikshit said that if the government spent even half as much effort and zeal in improving its own schools as it is spending on ‘harming private schools’, the quality of government schools could be like that of private schools.

First Published: Mar 03, 2018 20:18 IST