Pune: Potential chaos in the State’s education system is in the offing as the Independent English Schools Association (IESA) has decided to boycott admissions under the Right To Education (RTE) Act.
More than 3,000 private schools from Maharashtra are participating in this boycott, which might affect 22,000 students. The decision has come after the organisation’s prolonged displeasure towards the government’s delay in paying the promised reimbursement to private schools for reserving 25 per cent seats for the students from economically backward classes.
Jagruti Dharmadhikari, President, IESA, said, “From 2013 to 2017, the government hasn’t given us 100 per cent reimbursement for any year. In our State, budget private schools have given admissions to more than 2 lakh students under RTE.
“This constitutes a reimbursement of more than Rs 800 crore. However, there is no sign of the government returning our rightful money to us.”
Dharmadhikari pointed out provisions in the RTE Act that mention that a state can implement this act only when it has adequate money available for reimbursement, and the amount has to be paid to the schools in the same academic year when the admissions take place.
“We are not protesting against the government, nor are we opposing the RTE Act, all we are agitating against is the injustice inflicted on us. With so many schools trying to accommodate 25 per cent students from EWC in their budget, it’s the responsibility of the government to pay us for our services,” Rajendra Singh of IESA said.
He added that barring a few schools that were afraid of government action, hardly any budget private school in Maharashtra has registered in RTE, when the last date for online registration for RTE students is now just round the corner, that is, January 25.
“By paying Rs 100 crore, the government is trying to fool us. Till date we have given them two legal notices, however, we have failed to receive any positive response, forcing us to boycott the admission process. If the government truly wants to help underprivileged students, they should return us our money soon,” Dharmadhikari said.
Bharat Malik of Mumbai-based Private Unaided Schools Management Association (PUSMA) said, “We have announced this protest to tell the parents how the State government is failing to implement the RTE Act and fooling schools and parents. We appeal to the parents to join us in our fight.”
Pvt schools vs State govt
† This is the first time that private schools’ organisations like The Unaided Forum, Private Unaided Schools Management Association, CBSE Private School Management Association have participated in the boycott.
† The State government allegedly owes private schools more than Rs 800 crore in reimbursement for RTE Act admissions.
† Two legal notices have been sent to the government in this regard so far.