PIL demanding proper implementation of RTE act – Lok Satta Party impleads itself
Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 @ 9:36AM
The Lok Satta Party impleads itself in a writ petition filed in the Madras High court, demanding proper implementation of the ‘Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act’ in Tamil Nadu. The petition was filed by Mr A. Narayanan, Editor of Paadam, monthly Tamil magazine for development politics.
Gist of the petition
The RTE act mandates that 25 percent of seats in private schools (except the ones run by minorities) be reserved for socially and economically underprivileged children. The fees for these children will be borne by the government. To implement this act in Tamil Nadu, the rules are defined and released in 2011 by the Tamil Nadu government’s Department of School education.
As per the GO released, the applications for admission under this act will be issued between 3rd May and 9th May every year. This leaves a timeframe of only 5 days for the underprivileged to complete all the procedures including caste certificate, Income certificate etc. This notification is against the RTE act, which recommends a timeframe of 6 months for issuing applications. Most private schools reject the application citing that the distance of the child’s residence is greater than 1 km from the school as a reason.
These unjust regulations threaten the chance of underprivileged students securing admissions in private schools and are very much against the spirit of this act.
The petition pleads the court to strike down the GO which limits the timeframe for 1 week, to order the TN Dept of School Education to extend the timeframe for 6 months and to order the private schools not to reject the applications citing the one kilometer distance criterion.
Current case status
The Madras High Court accepted the petition and directed the Department of School Education to submit a report within 7 days. Based upon this report the case shall be taken up for hearing on 29th May.
The Matriculation Schools Directorate has issued a press release stating that the deadline is extended by 2 more weeks. However this extension period would not suffice and the announcement is very superficial. The Government has once again put the onus on the illiterate parents to get applications from District CEOs and also route the same through them rather than putting the obligation on the respective schools.
The process to admit students under the 25 per cent reservation has thus far been marred lack of awareness among both parents and school managements. How many underprivileged people know about this act leave alone the timeframe extension or the cumbersome application process? The government which recently spent crores of public money to advertise its ‘achievements’ in 2 years, doesn’t even cares to advertise RTE act or to create awareness about it among the public. The party condemns the lack of interest on the government part for not taking the implementation seriously.
The party also would like to remind its interest in monitoring the RTE implementation for the past one year through RTIs and other related activities.