K'taka govt mulls extending RTE Act from Class 8 to 10

K'taka govt mulls extending RTE Act from Class 8 to 10

RTE

The Karnataka government is mulling bringing Class 9 and 10 (SSLC) within the ambit of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, even as the first batch of students who got admitted to unaided private schools under RTE are set to enter Class 9 in the 2020-21 academic year.

Karnataka was the first state in the country to implement the RTE Act in 2012-13. The first batch of students who got seats under the 25% reservation quota in private schools will complete Class 8 this academic year, and schools are warning parents to make alternative arrangements or get ready to pay the full fee from next year.

The existing RTE rules apply to children in the 6-14 age group. The government has sought a proposal from the Department of Public Instructions on extending the same up to age 16, i.e. till the children complete Class 10.

Confirming the move to DH, an official from the department said, “We are preparing the proposal which will be submitted to the government soon.”

“Extending RTE benefits up to Class 10 will not be a burden for the government because the number of children joining unaided private schools under the quota has decreased following the amendments brought to the Act,” said the official.

Once the government clears the proposal, RTE quota students can continue their SSLC studies at the same school. The extension will apply to admissions already made as well as future admissions.

The government move came after parents of several children admitted under RTE quota complained that schools were demanding that they pay full fee for the next academic year, failing which they will be issued transfer certificates.

“My daughter will complete Class 8 this year. School authorities have sent a circular asking us to pay the fee for Class 9, saying RTE benefits end at Class 8,” a parent said.

Some parents said they received calls from schools during the previous academic year itself, asking them to be prepared to pay the full fee during 2020-21 academic year for Class 9.

School managements said they don’t get reimbursements from the government for RTE admissions after Class 8. “It is the parents’ responsibility to pay the prescribed fee. The Act itself says free and compulsory education applies up to Class 8 or till 14 years. Now the first batch is completing the same and to admit them in Class 9, we have to collect fee on a par with the other children,” said a management representative of a private school.

What the Act says

Free and compulsory education under RTE Act only
covers children who are 6 to 14 years old (Class 1 to 8).
Despite a long-pending
demand before the Ministry of Human Resource Development to extend it up to
Class 12, no decision has been taken yet.

Recent amendment

The recent amendment to the RTE Act by the state government restricts admissions to private schools under the Act. A case challenging
the amendment by the RTE Students’ Parents Association is pending before the high court.