Private non-minority unaided schools in the city will, hereafter, have to follow a streamlined admission procedure for intake of students under the 25 per cent quota mandated by the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
A government order (G.O.) issued by the school education department on Monday prescribes not just a common schedule for issue of application forms and declaration of admission results, but also provides standardised format for collecting and receiving data from schools and a uniform admission form which has to be distributed by schools free of cost.
“Though we had issued guidelines for admission the previous academic year, and collected details about admissions made under the 25 per cent reservation category from schools, we wanted to streamline the procedure further this year so that we can verify the nature of admissions made,” a senior official said.
According to the G.O., schools will have to display the intake of seats at the entry level class under the 25 per cent quota by April 2, notify the date of issue of application forms on May 2, and issue application forms between May 3 and 9 each year.
The completed application forms, along with the necessary age, address and other proof has to be submitted on or before May 9, following which parents should be given a registration slip from the school. This slip, for which the format has been provided, will include the date of hearing appeals of rejected candidates.
A department official said declaration of the age of the child by a parent or guardian will also be valid, as mentioned in the Tamil Nadu Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2011.
On May 11, the list of both eligible and ineligible candidates, along with reason of rejection should be displayed. If the number of applications exceeds the number of seats, random selection will be carried out at 10.30 a.m. on May 14. Names of the selected students, along with a waiting list comprising 10 per cent of the applicants, have to be put up by the school the same afternoon.
By May 20, schools will have to submit a return statement with details about the number of seats, admissions made, and vacant seats along with other criteria in the prescribed format.
On timing of the admission schedule, an official of a CBSE school said, “The provision of 25 per cent reservation to economically-weaker sections and disadvantaged groups is not new, and schools are aware that they have set aside the stipulated number of seats irrespective of when the admission is conducted. It is not the timing of the admission schedule, but the question of how many applications qualify under the 25 per cent quota.”
An official from a group of institutions that has two matriculation schools, while welcoming the common admission schedule, expressed concern about the provision not reaching out to intended beneficiaries.
“There must be a clear mechanism for verification of applications received under RTE,” the official said, adding there was little clarity among schools last year.
“When one school starts admissions, other schools are compelled to follow suit. It makes it difficult for parents who have applied to more than one school,” the official said.
Calling the G.O. a progressive step, social activist Narayanan. A said, mechanisms must be in place to ensure there is no discrimination inside the school. “There is so much ignorance about provisions of the RTE. An awareness campaign must be launched immediately to educate parents,” he said.
An official said, other than the director of matriculation schools, who will be the nodal officer at the State-level, there will be district-level committees headed by the chief educational officer along with DEO, DEEO and the IMS to monitor the implementation of the Act.
Parents can approach the district-level committee with grievances, the official said.