‘Department should scrutinise all admissions’

Very few of the students admitted in private schools in Coimbatore under the Right To Education Act (RTE) have been found to be eligible for the quota created for weaker sections by this legislation.

The Department of School Education, in its response to a Right To Information application filed by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s youth wing secretary V. Easwaran, said that 19,971 students were admitted under the RTE Act quota in private schools across Tamil Nadu.

Qualified

However, Mr. Easwaran said that through RTI query, it was found that very few of the students were qualified to be admitted under the rules specified in G.O. No: 60, issued on April 1, which dealt with admissions under RTE quota.

Using an RTI query, he said admission forms of students admitted in eight schools were collected. Of the 263 students admitted under the quota, only 25 had the proper documents.

Income limit

“Even though the Act fixes an annual income limit of Rs. 2 lakh for parents to qualify for the quota, we found that many applicants had stated income above this level. In fact, we came across cases where the income mentioned was Rs. 7 lakh.”

The Department of School Education had not scrutinised the documents submitted by the private schools and had blindly accepted their information, he alleged.

Mr. Easwaran met Collector Archana Patnaik on this issue and demanded that the Department of School Education be directed to scrutinise all the admissions made under RTE Act in Coimbatore schools and ascertain the genuine candidates.

Though he did not seek the cancellation of admissions already made, he said that the Government must reimburse to the private schools, only the fees for students found to be genuine.

A single window system will ensure transparency in RTE Act admissions, he added.

When contacted, R. Visalakshi, president of Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association told The Hindu that under the RTE Act, the schools must have been reimbursed the fees twice a year — in September and December.

Fee reimbursement

However, in the two years since the Act’s implementation, the fee of even a single student had not been reimbursed by the Government.

While schools are willing to admit students under the quota, they believe that the financial viability would be threatened if they did not receive fees for a quarter of the total students, as mandated by the RTE Act.

She urged the parents to take up this issue with the Government.