An infringement of our rights, say private schools

An infringement of our rights, say private schools

According to them, the legislation is “an infringement on their rights”. “In theory, private schools are not monitored by any admission watch dog. But schools affiliated to CBSE and ICSE boards have already been under the scanner,” observes the principal of a prominent City school.

Contending that the legislation would take a ‘serious toll’ on the quality of education as it bars any screening of children at the time of admission, Mansur Ali Khan, Trustee of Delhi Public School, notes: “The Act focuses more on quantity than quality. Private schools comprise merely about 15 percent of the total number of schools in the City. Unless the Government strengthens the schools run by it, the RTE Act cannot be implemented in its true spirit.”

M Srinivasan, President, Managements of Independent CBSE Schools Association-Karnataka (MICSA-K), agrees that their standard will come down if the Act is implemented in its current form. “Compared to higher education, the primary education sector is doing well. Most parents have trust in the education offered by private schools. We do not want local bodies to meddle in our affairs,” he said.

This apart, they have trained their guns on the supposed ‘ambiguous’ clauses in the draft rules framed by the State Government. “The draft rules reflect lack of planning. Some provisions in the Act are still ambiguous. While the Karnataka Education Act, 1983 states that children of age five and above are entitled to free and compulsory education, the RTE Act says only children aged above six are eligible for admission,” Krishna Iyer, General Secretary, Karnataka Associated Management of English Medium Schools, pointed out.

Schools also doubt the Government’s ability to reimburse the cost of educating those admitted under the 25 per cent reservation under RTE Act. “In the end, the Government’s ability to reimburse the cost we incur for educating children from disadvantaged groups is doubtul. While the legislation promises that the sum will be reimbursed, what if the State’s coffers go empty? What are we supposed to do then?” the Principal questioned.
Further, school managements say that any overhaul of the existing education system should start by consulting various stakeholders. In this regard, some progress has been made. Workshops being conducted by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have been extremely useful as they help them voice their concerns, the Delhi Public School Trustee said.

While Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan is engrossed in sorting out the 1,700-odd objections it received on its draft rules, private schools have chosen to ‘wait and watch’ once the draft rules are finalised, heads of various school managements say. But they have proposed a solution - each private school would adopt a Government school in its neighbourhood ensuring that it functions properly.

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