CHENNAI: It was business as usual on Tuesday at private matriculation and CBSE schools, which continued with fresh admissions on Vijayadasami, despite strict instructions not to admit students at entry-level classes.
According to Tamil Nadu Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Rules, 2011, no school is allowed to commence admission procedures before April first week of every year.
However, private schools continue to flout this rule by completing the admission process six months in advance. Bulk of this is being done on Vijayadasami, a day considered auspicious by Hindus to introduce children to the world of learning.
Reiterating this bar on admissions, a circular was sent to all registered private matriculation schools and institutions affiliated and run by CBSE last week. But, parents thronged admission counters of most-sought after schools in cities across the state to buy application forms and admit their wards in Lower Kindergarten (LKG) or Class I sometimes.
Sathya (name changed) had spent close to `5,000 for application forms for his son. "I approached more than six schools today and stood for hours in long queues to buy the forms so that I can register my son in the admission process," he said.
The circular instructed every school to prepare details on intake capacity from April 2 and application forms should be issued only after the 25 % intake under RTE Act was notified at the school notice boards
"There is no single mechanism available with the government to monitor whether schools followed this rule or not," said educationist Prince Gajendra Babu.
Yet, interviews were usually conducted to screen the applicants. This was also a blatant violation of the RTE Act which clearly prohibits any form of admission screening process.
However, a private school headmaster in Coimbatore said they were not aware of this circular or admission timeline. While there was so much confusions over LKG admissions, the issue was even more complex when it came to Pre-KG admissions. "The School Education Department released draft rules for regularisation of play schools. However, there was no information as to whether the rules have come into effect or not," the headmaster added.
CBSE schools on the other hand have continued to oppose the proposed time frame as their admission process ends by April fourth week every year.
Amid all these bureaucratic mess up, admissions for Pre-KG was almost complete in leading private matriculation schools.
Responding to this, a senior School Education Department official said action would be taken against private schools if they admitted students for LKG. But, none of the playschools are under department's control as of now, he added.