CHENNAI: Though the last date for submitting application forms for seats under the 25 percent Right To Education (RTE) quota has been extended till June 15, activists say the change of date is not going to make any difference. As there is no transparency in the functioning of most private schools, nothing will change for this academic year, they believe strongly.
As per the Act, all private schools must reserve 25 per cent of seats for children from weaker sections of society for admissions to LKG, Class I and VI. But activists charge that most schools do not campaign about RTE seats like they do for their regular admissions. Speaking to Express, E D Elango, coordinator of the NGO, Thevai Iyakkam said, when he took a few eligible children in North Chennai to private schools for admission - Alagappa Group of Schools, in Purasawakkam and Vivekananda Vidyalaya in Vyasarpadi — they refused to give them RTE applications. They allegedly claimed that they hadn’t received any funds from the government for admission under the Act. “Last year, a friend of mine paid Rs 10,000 to Alagappa School, after they promised to reimburse the money once funds were released to the school. As this was half the normal amount, he admitted his child,” said Elango. “It is true that the date has been extended to June 15 from May 19, so our NGO has also petitioned the Chennai Collector to help with the money due. Funding is always the hurdle for implementation of this Act effectively, “ he added.
Ambrose, State Co-Ordinator of Tamil Nadu Samakalvi Iyakkam said, the schools are supposed to display a board that explains this Act and how much reservation is offered, with application details and so on. But none of the schools he visited, had implemented any of these steps, “There is no transparency from the government’s side. They should keep a watch on these schools to see whether they are admitting eligible children and also allotting 25 percent reservation. Again, I wonder if the state maintains school dropout records and how many children in a particular community need schooling,” he wondered.