With March 2013 being the deadline for states to implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the school education department is taking various measures to monitor the implementation of the act in the State. According to a senior official, state-board schools across Tamil Nadu have been asked to send a list of students admitted under the 25 per cent quota prescribed by the act, along with other details about students of the school in the first phase of the exercise.
“It will cover all state-board schools in Tamil Nadu. We will notify schools from other boards to conduct the exercise in the next phase,” said the official. Another official said that the process of collecting and consolidating the break-up in roughly 3,700 matriculation schools across the State is underway, and is likely to be completed within a week. “We have asked schools to provide the details in the required format and the exercise started three weeks ago,” said the official.
B. Purushothamam, principal, Everwin Matriculation Higher Secondary School, says they have admitted 27 children under RTE, mostly from economically weaker sections. “We submitted a list of students admitted this academic year under RTE in LKG as well as details of all students studying from LKG to class VIII, two days ago,” he said.
A senior official said that a State-level monitoring cell headed by the Director of Matriculation Schools would be set up soon, along with monitoring cells at the district-level to monitor the various provisions of the act.
Meanwhile, the RTE Helpline (044-28211391) set up by the State Council of Educational Research and Training continues to receive calls and queries on a daily basis. Since the helpline was set up in March, an official said they had received 500 calls from across the State.
While there were two helplines earlier, there has only been one number for the past month, and officials say they receive between three to five calls daily, as opposed to 20 to 30 calls per day received when the helpline was first set up.
The nature of queries initially, they said, related to admissions such as fee structure, eligibility criteria, what qualifies as a neighbourhood school, and denial of admission in some cases. “In some cases they were denied admission because they were unaware of the eligibility criteria and would seek admission into class four, for instance. We directed the valid cases to the concerned directorates to resolve, and the problem was resolved in many cases,” said an official, adding that they had received close to ten such calls so far.
Of late, those answering the helpline, say that they have also been receiving calls from schools enquiring about the reimbursement of the fee, among other clarifications.