Close to 700 matriculation schools across the State have been given time till 31 March, 2013 — the deadline to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 — to comply with the Act’s norms.

According to an official of the directorate of matriculation schools, they have granted conditional recognition to those schools which have given an undertaking to meet the requirements. Of the 3,785 matriculation schools, almost 800 schools were non-compliant, said the official, adding that close to 100 schools of these have met with the land requirements.

Most of the schools which have been given conditional recognition are lagging behind in achieving the desired teacher-pupil ratio of 1:30 for primary and 1:35 for upper primary level, minimum land and building requirement, availability of sufficient number of laboratories, libraries, playgrounds and toilets. The S.V. Chittibabu Commission report in 2003 prescribed minimum land requirements for schools depending on where they were located. For instance, under the requirements, a school in a district headquarters must have eight grounds, a municipality must have ten grounds, and corporation six grounds.

“We have advised those schools which have an imbalanced teacher-pupil ratio to either hire more teachers, start a new section or keep a check on their enrolment numbers at the entry-level classes,” said the official, adding that more number of sections, would also translate into schools having to construct additional classrooms. “It is a tough decision which the management would have to take,” the official added.

In cases where schools are yet to build additional classrooms, some of the classes are functioning in temporary structures with roofs made of asbestos, for instance. There were 79 such schools in the State, said the official, and they have been asked to erect a permanent structure by the March 2013 deadline. The schools, said the official, would not be granted recognition, unless it fulfilled all the norms prescribed under the RTE Act.

In a bid to increase transparency, self-declaration forms which are submitted by matriculation schools at the time of application for recognition as well as renewal of recognition once in three years, would soon be put in the public domain, said the official. The form includes details such as enrolment status in the school, income and expenditure during the last three years, number of classrooms and their size in square feet, number of urinals/ lavatories for boys and girls, and particulars about the teaching staff.

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