For non-compliance of pupil-teacher ratio

The Department of School Education has begun to withhold renewal of recognition for private matriculation schools that are not in compliance with a pupil-teacher ratio of 1:30, mandated by the Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act.

Even though the Act came into force only from the last academic year, the department officials were instructing the schools to immediately adhere to the norms on all standards from L.K.G to Class XII, R. Visalakshi, President of Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association, told The Hindu here on Monday.

Many schools have been operating for decades with an average of 45 students per section. They cannot increase the number of sections as the School Education Department had recently begun clamping down on the number of sections to four per each standard, she said. increase in the number of sections could be done only with the permission of the Inspector of Matriculation Schools.

Even otherwise, she said that the schools cannot construct additional classes to comply with this norm as Education Department officials object to construction activity after the academic year had begun. The officials contended that this could pose a threat to student’s safety.

The only other alternative to comply with the pupil-teacher ratio was to reduce student strength by sending some of them out of school, which was a highly unpalatable choice.

She said that with the Act having come into force only in the previous academic year, private schools must be given at least three years to comply with it. The recognition given to schools must also be renewed every three years.

Ms. Visalakshmi said: “The Association will request the Department of School Education to factor in the interest of students and provide recognition without delay. The RTE Act itself seeks to enforce all these norms only from 2014-15.”

The move to keep the recognition pending had serious financial consequences for the schools. Section 18 (1) of the rules framed under RTE Act stated that no school could function without obtaining the recognition. Those found violating this rule would be levied a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh on the first day of functioning without recognition and Rs. 10,000 for every day from there on.


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