A day after the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) issued a circular barring private schools from charging fee in any form from the students admitted under the Right to Education (RTE) Act quota, private school managements have decided not to distribute books and uniforms to students, even if parents are willing to pay for them.
This has put parents of students admitted under quota in a spot as textbooks used in several private schools are not available in the market. In a majority of the schools, uniforms are also distributed only through a particular vendor.
Lakshmi K., whose daughter got a seat for class one in a Basaveshwarnagar school here, said the school management had earlier asked her to pay Rs. 14,500 under various sub-heads. “I borrowed some money and collected Rs. 7,000 which is the money for books and uniforms. But now the school management says they will not give us uniform and books. My daughter is being discriminated against even before stepping inside the school,” she said.
Another parent, Rajeev B., said he paid Rs. 12,800 for books and uniform. “The government says we need not pay, but the schools say our seat will be cancelled if we don’t. So I decided to pay the entire amount. The amount is almost equivalent to an entire year’s school fee,” he said.
The department, in its circular issued on Thursday, quoted section 7 (2) of the Karnataka Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules 2012, which states that schools should not discriminate against children admitted under the quota in any manner with respect to entitlements and facilities such as textbooks, uniforms, library, ICT facility, co-curricular programme, and sports.
D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary of the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said that all the 1,700 member-schools had been instructed not to distribute books and uniforms to students admitted under the quota.
‘All students have to pay’
“Majority of these schools distribute books and uniforms to all students and ask all of them to pay. The management cannot bear the cost and parents need to pay if they want these facilities. But with the circular issued on Thursday, private managements will be harassed as they will not be allowed to charge for books and uniforms. So we will admit students in our schools but not give them books and uniforms.”