It is now school principals' turn to do some homework. Heads of private CBSE schools have been asked to go through the Tamil Nadu government's guidelines for implementing the Right To Education Act and get doubts cleared with the School Education Department.

A meeting in this regard was organised on the DPI premises here on Wednesday. Sources among the school heads who participated in the meeting said that senior officials of the Department briefed them on the guidelines to implement the RTE Act. “The process has just begun and we do not have much clarity yet. Such meetings will help us understand the clauses better,” said a principal.

School heads said D. Sabitha, Secretary, School Education Department urged them to come back with any clarification they might need on the Act.

Admissions

While the Act prohibits schools from commencing admission for the next academic year, some school heads felt postponing it till that time would make their jobs tedious. “We would have a lot of work ahead of the public examinations, and later, the results. Until last year, we were able to finish the admission procedure well in advance and that helped us concentrate on the public examinations,” said the head of a school. However, they have little choice in the matter, since the Act clearly states that admissions shall not be made before closure of the current academic year.

The meeting included a detailed presentation on the Act and also a question and answer session. Heads of nearly 60 institutions, including Matriculation, Anglo Indian, State Board unaided and Nursery and Primary schools were also present. Questions ranging from “How do we reserve 25 per cent of our seats for children from underprivileged backgrounds?” to “What if parents volunteer to give donations for specific facilities in our schools?” were raised in the sessions.

Officials detailed the procedure to be followed while admitting children under the provision and said no donation shall be received in cash or kind.

A senior official of the School Department declined to comment on the purpose of the meeting and termed it a “purely official and preliminary meeting.”

Wednesday's meeting was anchored by the Directorate of Teacher Education Research and Training (DTERT) and similar orientation programmes would be organised in other districts with select school heads and DIET faculty as key resource persons.

For RTE Act and Tamil Nadu's guidelines, see: http://bit.ly/RTEACTS.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012