Private schools budge on RTE, allowed to admit students

 The Education department has permitted private schools to start admissions for the next academic year.

The department, which was at loggerheads with private schools over implementation of Right to Education (RTE) Act, had earlier issued a circular, prohibiting the schools from starting admissions before January 2013.

The department changed its decision after the private school management agreed to reserve 25 per cent of seats for students from the economically backward sections under the RTE Act, said L R Shivarame Gowda, president of the Karnataka Private School Management Federation here on Saturday.

The schools can prepare calendar of events for next year only if they begin admissions early, he said, speaking to reporters after attending a meeting with Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri.

The private schools had questioned the validity of the reservation under the RTE Act and demanded that the government reimburse the fees of students admitted under the quota. A writ petition in this connection is pending before the Supreme Court and the Karnataka government too recently extended the deadline for schools to register under the Act to November 30 from October 31.

“The schools have agreed to implement the provision under the Act. Now, the discussions are about amending a few cumbersome procedures,” Kageri said.

School managements have urged for simplifying the registration process as they would have submitted all the relevant documents at the time of opening school and while getting no objection certification from the government. “Their argument is valid,” the minister said.

Besides, now the income ceiling under the quota is Rs 3 lakh for eligibility of students for admission and this should be reduced to between Rs 60,000 and Rs one lakh for extending the facility to children from families in abject poverty, the managements demanded.

Kageri said the State government would constitute a committee before November 10, to monitor the implementation of RTE Act.

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