A School Education Department committee that was originally formed to scrutinise private schools’ claims for fee reimbursements of students admitted under Right To Education (RTE) Act, will now handle all private school-related complaints of the parents and public. The committee would conduct meeting on a weekly basis and also as and when any emergency breaks out.
Chaired by the Chief Educational Officer, the committee comprised the Inspector of Matriculation Schools, Chief Educational Officer of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), District Elementary Education Officer (DEEO), and the District Educational Officers of Coimbatore and Pollachi, official sources told The Hindu here on Monday.
The scrutiny of RTE fee reimbursement claims began last Monday and was supposed to be completed in a couple of days. However, the scrutiny process has been extended till this Wednesday for Coimbatore.
Some of the common complaints received by the Department include collection of fees in excess of the levels fixed by Justice S.R Singaravelu-led Private Schools Fee Determination Committee, ill-treatment of students who had either not paid the fees or the excess fees demanded by schools, detaining of students for paying fees, complaints over private schools not providing RTE Act admission fees.
The Directorate of Matriculation Schools has submitted a claim for Rs. 5.69 crore towards fees reimbursement of private schools in Coimbatore, which has the largest number of private schools in Tamil Nadu.
Among the recent complaints was against a school in Pollachi, which allegedly refused entry to a student, who had not paid the fees.
Officials went to the school and spoke with both the management and the parents and resolved the issue.
Other issues include dealing with parent’s contention that students admitted under RTE Act need not pay for accessories such as uniform and educational material, which are not covered under the legislation. Further, a School Education Department official said, the major issue facing this committee was the refusal of many private schools to admit students under RTE Act. Till now, private schools had pointed out to the non-reimbursement of fees as the reason behind their reluctance to admit students under RTE Act. However, with the State Government releasing Rs. 97 crore for students admitted in the past two academic years, the official said that private schools now had no reason not to admit students.