Collector issues warning to the managements

Twenty-two school students, including those in kindergarten, admitted under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act - 2009, along with their parents thronged the Collectorate here on Monday, alleging that they had been harassed by school authorities to pay fees.

It was the first grievance day of new Collector L.Subramanian.

All the students were from Ponmani Matriculation Higher Secondary School and Jeyaseelan Memorial Matriculation School in Usilampatti taluk. Close to one-third of the students hailed from Scheduled Castes and the rest from Most Backward Castes, according to M.Jeyapandi, president, Parent Teachers’ Association, Usilampatti.

Mr.Jeyapandi alleged that there was no need for these economically deprived students to pay fees as under Section 12 (2) of the Act. The government should reimburse the expenditure incurred by private schools for admitting them. However, these students were asked to get the fee reimbursement from the government or pay the fees themselves.

The school managements had not issued textbooks and notebooks to them, and had given them harsh punishments like forcing them to kneel down till they paid the fees, they said.

P.Velmurugan, hailing from Kaliamman Koil Street, Karukkattanpatti, Usilampatti, and a parent of a UKG student, said though the former Collector had asked the schools to strictly implement the Act, the school authorities had violated it.

Mr.Subramanian, on coming to know about the grievance, immediately met the parents, promised action and also issued a warning to the schools to strictly implement the RTE Act.

Failure of adherence to laws would invite stern action from the district administration, he added. Karthikeyan, Principal, Ponmani Matriculation Higher Secondary School, contended that the students did not even qualify under the RTE Act, but the school admitted them due to pressure from local residents.

He said under the Act, fees should be reimbursed but till date it had not been reimbursed, and the situation was same with all unaided private schools in the taluk.

More In: Madurai