After months of dangling over the issue of compensation of fee to the private schools for making 25 per cent of their entry level seats available for free to students from economically and socially disadvantaged groups, the School Education Department has agreed to take the issue forward. After a meeting with private school organisations in the State, the Education Department has assured the disbursal of the compensation for the academic year 2013-14 in the next 2-3 months.
“We have met the representatives concerned of the private schools association and assured them that the fee will be reimbursed in about 2-3 months. The department has already taken up steps in this direction,” said a senior official with the Directorate of Matriculation Schools.
The meeting with the School Education Department comes after the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation And Higher Secondary Schools Association refused to admit students under the 25 per cent reserved seats for disadvantaged students, citing the failure of the government to reimburse the fees under this category for previous years.
“We have decided to admit the schools under 25 per cent quota for disadvantaged students based on the assurance of the School Education Department. As per the assurance, we will resume the admission of students under the category in all our schools from Wednesday,” said K R Nandakumar, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation And Higher Secondary Schools Association.
The association said that the government had to reimburse an amount of around `25 crore for the 20,000 seats provided by the organisation in around 10,000 schools under it. Meanwhile, the association said the government refused to compensate for the seats that were provided in the year 2012-13 under the RTE quota.
Another private schools organisation, the All India Private Schools Association said that the schools under them are ready to provide the seats under the RTE quota even without the assurance from the government.
“The issue here is that the Central government is delaying the release of funds. So the schools under our organisation will continue to admit students under the 25 per cent quota,” said V P Dennison, president of the organisation.
Meanwhile, the announcement by a body representing private schools that its members would not be admitting students under the 25 percent quota mandated by the Right to Education (RTE) Act evoked sharp responses from political parties.
Even as politicians blamed the private schools for finding one excuse or the other to avoid implementing the quota, they urged the State government to intervene and sort out the matter.