Published: 11th June 2019
Private schools in shock, as government halves per child expenditure under RTE Act
Two different per child expenditure for schools in a hilly area and other areas were fixed and fee for Classes 1 - 5 ranged around Rs 25,000 per child
Private schools across the state, who have got the fee amount for students who have got admitted in the 2017-18 academic year under the Right To Education (RTE) Act, were in for a shock, as they received only half the amount, compared to last year. The reason: Tamil Nadu State government has reduced the per child expenditure, which forms the base for calculating the RTE admission reimbursement for private schools, from around Rs 25,000 in 2016-17 to just around Rs 11,000 in 2017-18.
According to the RTE rules, State government would fix the per child expenditure for each class, which would be the maximum amount which the government would reimburse to the private school for a student who got admitted under the RTE Act. In a government order dated June 27, 2017, School Education department fixed per child expenditure for the 2016-17 academic year. Two different per child expenditure for schools in a hilly area and other areas were fixed and fee for Classes 1 - 5 ranged around Rs 25,000 per child. But, on December 28, 2018, School Education Secretary Pradeep Yadav, in another government order fixed the per child expenditure for the 2017-18 academic year.
But, this time the government has fixed the per child expenditure for LKG to Class 5 and the amount was drastically reduced to around Rs 11,000. Based on this reduced per child expenditure fixed by the government, the fee amount was reimbursed to private schools recently. When contacted, a senior official in the school education department said, the Directorate of Elementary Education and Directorate of School Education have submitted their recommendation for fixing per child expenditure, considering the expenditure incurred for providing education to a child. Based on their recommendation, the School Education Department and Finance Department had a discussion and reduced the per child expenditure for the 2017-18 academic year, the official added.
Expressing shock over this, Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association president R Visalakshi, "Earlier the government has assured us that the fee for students who are admitted under RTE Act would be reimbursed based on the fee fixed by the Tamil Nadu Private School Fee Fixation Committee. For the last three years, we were getting the fees reimbursed on that basis only. But now, the government has reduced the per child expenditure without holding any discussion with the private schools and we were not even aware of this reduced per child expenditure fixation."
Demanding the government to withdraw the reduced per child expenditure fixation, she urged the government to reimburse the fee based on the amount fixed by the Tamil Nadu Private Schools Fee Fixation Committee. However, PB Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary of State Platform for Common School System felt, the government has the right to fix the per child expenditure under the RTE Act.
"Citing delay in reimbursement of the fee for students who get admission under RTE Act, private schools force students to pay the fee and say the amount will be returned once the government pays the private schools. Now, private schools will put more pressure on students who get admission under the RTE Act, the majority of them are socially, economically weaker section," he added. The state government has to ensure that admission under RTE Act is done in private schools in accordance with norms and private school managements do not force the parents to pay the fee for RTE admission.