From the next academic year, private schools in the state may not admit children under the RTE (Right to Education) quota. The schools have taken a decision to this effect following delay in the government releasing reimbursement towards 25 per cent of seats they have provided under the quota.
“We cannot continue to cooperate with the state government in implementing the RTE Act from next academic year, unless the government addresses our issues,’’ L R Shivarame Gowda, president of Karnataka Private Schools - Joint Action Committee (KAP-JAC) told Express.
“We have extended complete cooperation and support in implementing RTE in the state effectively. But the authorities are least bothered about our problems and are not addressing our issues which we cannot tolerate,” Shivarame Gowda said.
As per the data available from KAP-JAC, the state government has to release around `65 crore to private schools as the first installment towards the seats they have given under RTE. The deadline for releasing the reimbursement was September 30, 2013 and for second installment it is January 2014.
‘’We have not received any communication from the government side. The government does not have the courtesy to call the managements and find out the ground reality. It is not that easy to run an education institution. When we have accepted RTE Act and joined hands with government in implementing it, the government should know its responsibilities,’’ said D Shashi Kumar, convener of KAP-JAC.
Last year, members of KAP-JAC met the Education Minister four times, principal secretary to Primary and Secondary Education twice and the Commissioner for Public Instructions three times and made their representations.
There are over 16,000 private schools in the state (except minority schools) including CBSE, ICSE. A major number of them are in the cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Shimoga and Hubli-Dharwad.
The government had fixed a reimbursement of `11,800 per child. In 2012-13, government released half of the reimbursement and in 2013-14 (current year), it has not released anything. According KAP-JAC, this year (2013-14) around 70,000 seats in private schools were given under RTE and the reimbursement for 40,000 seats of 2012-13 is pending.
What if private schools refuse to provide seats under rte quota?
If the private schools refuse to provide RTE seats, then every year around 1.10 lakh children will lose the benefit of getting seats in private schools. It would also amount to a violation of the Act. According to school managements, though it is Central government policy and children have right to free and compulsory education, the state government should be supportive to private schools. “The Government has transferred its responsibility to private schools and is not providing financial assistance to schools. If the government continues to delay the release of funds, we are even ready to fight it legally,” said another member of KAP-JAC.