RTE quota children may have to pay for textbooks, uniforms

RTE quota children may have to pay for textbooks, uniforms

RTE quota children may have to pay for textbooks, uniforms

The children who have secured seats in unaided schools under the RTE quota will now have to pay fees for textbooks and uniforms, if the school managements demand the amount from them. All this while the schools unofficially collect extra money from parents for this purpose.

The RTE Rules, 2002, clearly specify that the children admitted under the quota are entitled for free textbooks and uniforms. However, in the fall out of conflict over a controversial SSA manual, Director for Public Instruction (Primary Education) K Ananda has stated that as per rules in place, students under the RTE quota can be given free textbooks and uniforms only if the school management has the practice of giving it out for free for the rest of the students too.

This comes as a huge blow to several parents who are already disillusioned with the RTE quota seats and are considering sending their children back to government schools. Schools have been forcing them to pay additional fee running into thousands of rupees on the pretext of providing books, uniforms and other facilities in the school. The DPI official's statement only strengthens this practice  Contradiction in manual

The SSA manual, in contradiction to the RTE Rules, states that schools can charge the students for books and uniforms, if they have not included this expense as part of their total fee structure. Protesting against the inaccurate information printed in the manual, several parents had complained to the officials. Following the complaints, the deputy directors of public instruction (DDPI) had written to the higher officials of the DPI seeking clarity on the issue.

While sources in DPI told Deccan Herald that the manual was incorrect and outdated, the Director for Primary Education Ananda stands firm by this manual. In his official communication (on July 24) to the DDPIs and the BEOs, he has brushed aside the conflict stating that there was no need for further clarity in this regard.

“It has been observed that DDPIs are repeatedly asking for clarity on the issue. It is clear that the rules specify that children can be given free textbooks if the school has a practice of giving free uniform and textbooks to students or if the school management has included these fees in the total expenditure...” he stated.

On the contrary, Section 5 (1) of the RTE Rules states that all the children enrolled under the RTE quota are entitled for free textbooks and uniforms. In addition, Section 8 (1) emphasises that children from the weaker section shall not be levied any “other fee or expenses” by the school.