Even as the Department of School Education has set up a special cell here to deal with grievances over the Right To Education Act, several parents from Pollachi lodged complaints on Tuesday with the office of Chief Educational Officer.

They alleged that many private schools in Pollachi were either refusing to issue applications for seats under the RTE Act quota or were asking parents to pay the fee, which, the schools said, would be reimbursed after the Government paid them.

This legislation mandated private schools to set aside 25 per cent of their total seats for children from socially and economically weaker sections. No fees must be charged from students admitted under this category as it would be reimbursed by the Government.

However, associations representing private schools in Tamil Nadu have pointed out that the Government was yet to reimburse the fee for even a single student despite the Act being implemented in the State for the past two years.

S. Elayaraja, a painter, said that he approached at least 10 private schools in Pollachi on Monday seeking admission to LKG for his daughter.

However, most of the schools turned him away stating that they had no instructions to admit children under the quota.

T. Ramesh, an autorickshaw driver, said that some schools demanded that he admit his daughter to LKG, even though he had sought admission for Class I.

R. Sukumar, a trader, said that a few schools had demanded payment of fee upfront even though the Act prevented them from collecting any money from parents.

J. Prabhu, a former Councillor, said that the schools also refused to accept applications downloaded from the Government website.

“The schools also told me to get an attestation from the District Collector. There is no such provision anywhere in the RTE Act”, he said.

Further, one of the schools agreed to admit some applicants and asked the rest to come on May 26. However, the admission process must be concluded by May 18.

Further, K. Nachimuthu, another autorickshaw driver, said that none of the private schools he had approached in Pollachi had put up notice boards displaying the total number of seats available under the RTE Act quota.

Complaint cell numbers

When contacted, Chief Educational Officer A. Gnanagowri told The Hindu here on Tuesday that the grievance redress cell had begun looking into this issue. Explanations would be sought from the private schools.

The officials would collect the applications from these parents and forward them to the schools in Pollachi.

Parents having similar complaints could contact grievance redress cell in any of the following mobile numbers between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.: 97888 58523, 94438 20422, 94439 29389 and 99769 55766.