Private schools in Uttar Pradesh declared on Saturday, 3 March, that they would not admit children from poor families under the Right to Education Act (RTE) unless the government reimbursed fees for the previous two years.
As reported by Hindustan Times, after a meeting of private schools, Madhusudan Dikshit, national senior vice president and UP state president of the Independent Schools Federation of India, issued a statement saying, “Previous two years’ fee reimbursement should first be given as per Section 12(2) of the RTE Act, and only then will private unaided schools of Uttar Pradesh give fresh RTE admissions in the coming school year.”
The schools are also criticising the state government of “arbitrarily” setting a reimbursement rate of Rs 450 per month per child. They argue that this is not in tandem with the formula stipulated in the Act. They make this argument under Section 12(2) of the Act, which details the reimbursement to be provided by the government to private schools.
(Section 12(2) of the RTE Act)
Not received any complaint, the government says
The government, however, says that it has not received any complaint from the private schools.
Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma – who is also in charge of secondary and higher education – said he has not received any official communication from the private school owners’ association.
“They have not conveyed me about this decision. Hence, it will not be proper to issue any statement in this matter,” he reportedly said, before adding, “I’ll speak to the official to find out why the schools did not receive reimbursement from the state government.”
Dikshit, state president of the Independent Schools Federation of India, told Hindustan Times that many private schools of Uttar Pradesh are not able to pay salaries to their teachers, nor their electricity and stationery bills etc., due to which many schools are on the brink of closure. On the one hand, 75% children are bearing the burden of the 25%, but on the other, the government is squeezing the fee levels of private schools. The result will be to reduce private schools’ quality to the level of government schools, he said.
He said, “Instead of fixing the poor quality of education in government schools, the state government is busy with making policies to ruin private schools. It is daily making new rules and regulations for private schools, sometime on fee, sometime in the name of the right to education, and persecuting private schools.”
But Deputy Chief Minister Sharma argued that private schools have a certain responsibility as well. “Private schools must shoulder certain responsibility and should follow government rules,” Sharma said.