CHENNAI: Criticising the conditions stipulated under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, representatives of matriculation schools and members from the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary and Matriculation Schools Association charged the authorities with crushing the private schools in the State.
Addressing the media here on Wednesday, school correspondents from across Tamil Nadu said admissions without strict documents for RTE, rules of the Local Planning Authority(LPA) and bribery were hampering the functioning of their institutions.
“Sometimes the schools which do not have good infrastructure get recognition, others with better facilities don’t. Moreover, the facilities in many of these schools are anyway far better than those in government schools,” claimed association secretary, K R Nandakumar.
The schools were struggling due to lack of fee refund for admissions under RTE, he bemoaned. “We have taken around 900 students through RTE. Now it is time for the next refund installment. If we do not get it, it will be discouraging for us to comply with the rules,” Nandakumar said.
Fee has always been a bone of contention, as the schools have been claiming that the fee structure fixed by Justice P Singaravelu committee was not sufficient. “The person who built the school should have full control over fees and admission, and should not be answerable to the government,” argued one school correspondent, who was against interference under any pretext.
However, there were a few among the representatives who said they will admit students through RTE if rules are followed and they are appropriately refunded.
Similarly, building bye-laws was another cause of concern in view of land scarcity, they added. “If we are building a school in the middle of the city, we cannot be expected to leave 25 ft setbacks and give large grounds,” said the representative from Children’s Paradise Matriculation School, Tiruvallur.
The RTE rules on neighbourhood schools are supposed to apply to a 1 km radius up to Class 5 and 3km radius from Class 5 to Class 10. This rule, the association claims, is not being adhered to. The high levels of corruption in getting recognition also needs to be addressed, the association said.