Tamil Nadu gov't-aided schools deprived of major schemes? Experts speak up

The school education department, last year, decided to conduct Kalai Thiruvizha in government-aided schools as well
Experts speak up | (Pic: EdexLive)
Experts speak up | (Pic: EdexLive)

Though the School Education Department of Tamil Nadu has been one of the focal point of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government since it assumed power in 2021, educationalists feel the aided schools are getting a raw deal when compared to government schools, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

The major schemes that evaded the government-aided schools include 7.5% reservation for students in professional courses, the morning-breakfast scheme, and Pudhumai Penn scheme under which, Rs 1,000 is being given to girls who pursue higher education.

"Many aided schools impart education to students hailing from poor backgrounds. During the Kamarajar era, the opening of government-aided schools that provided free education was encouraged as it helped increase school accessibility for children. While all the schemes including the mid-day meal scheme and distribution of kit having 14 types of educational items were extended to aided schools as well, there is a shift in this policy in the last 10 years," said S Mayil, General Secretary, of Tamil Nadu Primary Teachers Federation (TNPTF). The government also stopped giving annual maintenance grants to aided schools a decade ago.

Prince Gajendra Babu, General Secretary of State Platform for Common School System, argues that depriving aided school students of the benefits is against Constitutional provisions and natural justice. He also urged the government to clarify whether it believes students studying in Tamil-medium-aided schools are from economically well-off families.

"The DMK government, which says it is following the principles of the Justice party, is denying the benefits to aided schools which are mostly started by leaders as an act of philanthropy. All the rights provided to the children in government schools should be extended to aided schools as well," he said. He also added the Right to Education Act doesn't differentiate between government schools and aided schools, which receive funds from the government to pay the teachers.

In some districts, especially in the southern parts of the state, the number of aided schools is more than the government schools. "When the underprivileged children are forced to go to aided schools due to lack of government schools, how can you deny them the government benefits," questioned a government school headmaster from Dindigul, on condition of anonymity.

The school education department, last year, decided to conduct Kalai Thiruvizha in government-aided schools as well. "We hope the government will change its stand and extend all schemes to them," he added.

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