The School Education Department has not yet received any clear-cut instructions on dealing with schools that have above four sections for each class, it is learnt.

According to the Inspector of Matriculation Schools (IMS) B. Mathivanan, five schools had flouted the norms in Tiruchi revenue district. “For starting the fifth section, schools need the consent of the IMS, and for sections beyond fifth the approval of the Directorate of Matriculation Schools is required.”

The Code of Regulations for Matriculation Schools strictly states this. All schools were cautioned well in advance, but five schools in Tiruchi district chose to continue with additional sections.

According to education department sources, any harsh action at this juncture would cause consequences to the students admitted in excess. However, these schools could face consequences when they apply for renewal of recognition. The schools would be required to explain why they offer only science groups, sources added.

Very few matriculation schools in the district offer arts groups at higher secondary level. On the other hand, arts and science colleges admit students for the B.A. and B.Com degree programmes in large numbers. Students from a limited number of higher secondary schools that offer arts group enjoy the advantage of gaining easy entry into the arts degree programmes. Fortunately for students in rural parts, over the last few years the State government has been appointing teachers for Accountancy, Economics and Commerce in government schools upgraded with higher secondary status.

But, it was difficult to instruct the private schools to offer arts or vocational groups as “they would easily cite lack of patronage,” said Mr. Mathivanan.