In a clear indication that all is not well with the Right to Education admissions in the State, a Right to Information (RTI) petition filed by a party functionary in the city has found that flagrant violation of norms has taken place in the 25 per cent reservation of seats for the economically backward sections under the RTE Act in the academic year 2013-14. The data available with Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) youth wing secretary Eswaran contradicts the statement by the School Education Department that 19,971 economically poor students were admitted to private schools in the State in entry level classes “as per norms”. Coimbatore was believed to be the highest in RTE admissions with 2,163 students. But available data tells a different tale.
Of the 263 admissions made at eight schools in the city, parents of 44 students have an annual income higher than Rs 2 lakh. Applications of 259 students who took admission to these schools did not have the required documents proving eligibility. Admissions were given to 209 students from backward, most backward and other communities who did not present their income certificates and to 101 without a single required document.
“It is clear that schools have given admission according to their whims and fancies. Even the officials were a failure in implementing the law. We demand the government come out with correct figures of admission in the State,” said Eswaran.
He said that reimbursement should not be given to those who got admissions illegally. “The norms were to empower weaker sections in the society but they are being misused. We are not calling for cancellation of admissions considering the future of the students, but the government should not reimburse those who aren’t eligible.” The finding raises serious questions about the implementation of RTE norms in the State.
“There are many deserving candidates who were denied admission by schools. The same schools have admitted students even without complete applications. If no one checks the wrongdoers, such practices will continue,” said Maruthu, a parent. These findings are based on data from G D Matriculation HS School, Shri Nehru Vidyalaya Matric HS School, Visweswara Vidyalaya Matric HS School, Bharathi Matriculation HS School, G K D Matriculation HS School, Perks Matric HSS School, National Model School and Ramakrishna Matric HS School.
Chief Educational Officer A Gnanagowri said that efforts were being made to ensure transparency. “One need not produce all documents for admission. They should produce only the document under which they claim admission. Action will be taken against the erring schools after investigation,” she said.
A call for a single window system for RTE admission is gaining strength. Parents and officials believe that it will bring transparency into the admission process.
Parents also want the same system to be implemented in CBSE schools since the number of RTE admissions is very low.