Last year when the 25 per cent quota in entry-level classes for the poor in private schools kicked in under the RTE Act, almost 60 per cent of the seats remained unfilled. With that window opening again in two days time, will all the seats be filled this time around? If the School Education Department really means business, there’s little indication of it so far as it is yet to do its basic groundwork.
As per the orders of the Tamil Nadu government issued last April, every private non-minority unaided school must prepare details of entry-level classes and intake capacity and submit them to the District Committee by April 2. Schools must also ensure that the intake seats are displayed on their notice boards.
But one month since the deadline lapsed, the School Education Department is yet to commence follow-up action. “The staff has been busy with the SSLC paper evaluation till this week. So we were not able to take up the inspection. But we are beginning the process this week,” said a senior official with the Directorate of Matriculation. The official also pointed out that the directorate is yet to receive data from schools on the number of seats available in the 25 per cent quota.
In a circular sent by the Department of Matriculation to all schools under it in April, it was pointed out that about 60 per cent of the seats under the quota remained vacant last year. The circular said that out of the 58,619 seats in 3,550 schools in the State, only 23,248 seats were filled last year. The number of schools that participated in the process was as low as 2,600. Activists blamed the department’s negligence for the vacant seats saying that the poor hardly knew of the quota.
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