Deadline for admissions under 25% quota provided by Act extended till June 20

The deadline for admissions under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act has been extended till June 20.

It was also announced that the admission forms would be issued at the Saidapet Government Model Higher Secondary School and not the chief education officer’s (CEO) office as was announced earlier on Monday.

A press release from Chennai collector, E. Sundaravalli on Wednesday said the forms would be available for free till June 20 at the Saidapet school.

Earlier in April, the school education department issued a government order to streamline admissions under the 25 per cent quota for weaker sections mandated under the 2009 Act. The GO required schools to issue a common admission form, and put up a list of selected candidates by 14 May.

Schools were supposed to submit details about admissions under RTE to the directorate of matriculation schools by May 20.

Though an official remained non-committal on the exact number of vacant seats in the city, many seats in private schools have not been filled so far due to lack of awareness among intended beneficiaries and a poor show by schools. Taking this into account, the deadline has been extended to June 20.

In the second round of admissions which began on Tuesday, the applications will be routed to the schools through the CEO’s office. An official said parents can collect and submit the form along with the required documents at the government school in Saidapet. A. Subramanian, SSA, Zone-10 supervisor, who was issuing forms at the school on Wednesday, said seven parents had approached them for the forms.

While some activists welcomed the extension, they said the lack of awareness among parents, which was one of the biggest hurdles in the first round of admissions under RTE, has not been addressed even this time. Many such as A. Amaliya, whose elder daughter studies in the upper kindergarten in an aided school and younger daughter is set to join school next year, are still unaware of the provisions of the RTE Act two years after the Tamil Nadu Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011, were formulated.

“Can I put my younger daughter in a big private school without paying the fee?” she said, surprised at the information. A resident of a slum in T. Nagar, she says that her husband works as a painter and earns between Rs. 4,000-Rs. 5,000 per month. “We paid Rs.7,500 as fee for lower kindergarten. The school is yet to give us the fee structure for this year. Each year, it will only keep increasing,” she said, adding that almost nobody in the slum she lives in knows about the reservation of 25 per cent seats in private schools for disadvantaged groups.

A. Narayanan, convenor, Forum for Right to Education, maintained that the government must launch a campaign to create awareness about the provision and also introduce a sub-quota to ensure that both ‘disadvantaged groups’ and ‘weaker sections of society’ are represented.

N. Umapathy of Slum Children Sports Talent and Education Development Society, who has been creating awareness on the provision of the Act in slums in Vyasarpadi, said the second round of admissions were a welcome move. “Schools were unresponsive, sometimes unapproachable and not transparent. Channelling it through the CEO’s office is a good move, but not all may be able to travel to Saidapet. They must introduce an option to apply online,” he said.