They await government circular on modalities of quota rules
With the admission process either completed or nearing completion in most private schools and no clarity in sight yet on the modalities of enforcing 25 per cent reservation for the underprivileged, there is confusion among school managements and parents.
Many school authorities The Hindu spoke to said they were yet to receive the circular instructing them to admit only 75 per cent of their seats, so that the rest can be filled under quota for disadvantaged groups. While schools with established infrastructure are inclined to increase the intake to accommodate the quota criterion, fledgling institutions are unsure how they would manage the “additional burden”.
Deepa Sridhar, director, Sri Kumaran Group of Institutions, said that their schools had closed admission, though they were yet to receive the circular. “We cannot ask those who have already been given seats to forego them. We will decide the future course of action after we receive the circular,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sadiq K., who had admitted his daughter to St. Francis Xavier School in Fraser Town, hopes that his daughter's seat will not be affected by the recently issued circular. “I even paid the fees a week ago,” he said.
“We will have to abide by the rules and continue admitting students,” said Robina Farooq, principal, Prasiddhi School. According to Anuradha Suresh, general secretary, Roan International School, the rule would be a “big blow” to upcoming institutions. “When our admissions are below expectations, it would be difficult for schools like ours to reserve 25 per cent seats. It would be impossible for unaided institutions to run the schools effectively,” she said.
D.K. Das, principal of Candor International School, said: “We have no choice but to accept the verdict. Once we are clear about the details regarding the verdict, we'll try to work a way around it. The intention is good, but the government should bear equal responsibility by providing adequate infrastructure, textbooks among other things.”
B.R. Supreeth, secretary, Oxford Group of Institutions, Nagarbhavi, said they were already following the “spirit of the Act” by providing free education to 50 children every year. “If some schools have completed the admission process, they can increase the class strength and adhere to the rules,” he said.
Meeting with Minister
Sudi Suresh, secretary of the Karnataka State Private School Management Federation, who was part of the delegation that met Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri on Thursday, said, “The government has said that the Social Welfare Department will define who can be part of the 25 per cent intake. We will have to wait till May 15 or so. But classes will commence on May 22.” He also said that the hurried implementation may affect the calendar of events.
“Most ICSE and CBSE schools have completed the admission process. Everywhere, there is a big question mark about what is to be done now,” said B. Gayethri Devi from the Association of ICSE Schools in Karnataka.
“What is going to be done in schools where admissions are already over? Will they quash 25 per cent of the students to accommodate those who have to be admitted under the RTE? We are not against the Act, but the government should ensure that no children are affected,” said MLC B. Puttanna, who was also part of the delegation.
Yet another sore point is the issue of reimbursement. With the government maintaining that it is going to be uniform, Mr. Suresh admitted that a tuition fee hike for the 75 per cent students cannot be ruled out.