PUDUCHERRY: The Puducherry administration will take steps to implement the provision of 25 per cent reservation of seats for students in private schools under the Right to Education Act in the Union Territory from the next academic year, Minister for Education T Thiagarajan told the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
Replying to a query raised during Question Hour in the Assembly, Thiagarajan said the government was taking steps forward to implement the 25 per cent reservation of seats for poor students in private schools.
Reading out the names of 11 schools, all major private institutions, he said they were enjoying minority status and the government could not insist on 25 per cent reservation in those schools. However, in the remaining schools the government would insist on 25 per cent reservation.
This reply did not satisfy the members Om Sakthi Sekhar (AIADMK), Nantha T Saravanan (DMK) and A Anbazhagan (AIADMK) who raised the question. Om Sakthi Sekhar charged the Puducherry administration with not following the directions of the Supreme Court and the Centre on this issue. Other members accused the government of depriving students from economically backward strata of a chance to get good education .
Intervening, the Chief Minister N Rangasamy said the quality of education in government schools was better than in the remaining non-minority private institutions. Besides, the government would have to pay the fees of students admitted in those schools under RTE.
A Anbazhagan wanted to know whether 50 per cent of the students studying in these minority schools were indeed minorities. To this, Thiagarajan said the criteria was that the minority students should not exceed 50 per cent but could be below 50 per cent. This led to a debate on the issue of minority status for the 11 schools.
The MLAs questioned the basis on which the minority status has been granted and by whom. Thiagarajan said the schools haved obtained minority certificate from National Minority Commission.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Opposition V Vaithilingam, who is a former Chief Minister, also questioned the validity of such certificates.