Not a single student belonging to the “weaker sections” has been admitted in as many as 81 schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in Tamil Nadu this year, virtually mocking at the provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. In other words, one-fifth of the 390 CBSE schools in the State have brazenly denied admission to poor students, though as per law 25 per cent of seats are reserved for them.
The state of affairs could be worse as only 128 of the 390 schools have responded to questions filed under the Right to Information Act by MDMK youth wing secretary Eswaran on the implementation of the provisions of the RTE Act. The data furnished under the RTI Act revealed that of the 3,055 seats reserved for weaker sections in these 128 schools, only 762 seats were filled, which amounts to just 25 per cent of the total reserved seats.
Quite surprisingly, the CBSE Regional Office in Chennai has informed Eswaran that it has no access to information on the number of entry level seats to be allotted in each school under the RTE Act.
Interestingly, the CBSE has admitted that it had not deputed even a single team to inspect schools to ensure that the admission process was carried out in a fair manner in compliance with the RTE Act. The Board had also not issued any guidelines to deal with excess applications for admissions.
Pointing to the replies under the RTI Act, Eswaran said the CBSE doesn’t even have information on the number of students from Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, Differently Abled, HIV Positive categories, all of whom are described as “weaker sections” under the RTE Act. No schedule and deadlines were available for conducting the admissions.