Two years after the Right to Education (RTE) Act came into effect requiring private schools to reserve 25 per cent free seats for students from the Economically Weaker Section (EWS),while ensuring the schools would be reimbursed,the education department has coughed up the pending EWS bills since 2010 estimated to be worth Rs 4 lakh to nine city schools.
According to the education department,of the 71 private schools in the city,41 schools submitted their details to claim EWS bills. But only nine schools adopted the criteria of reserving 25 per cent seats for EWS students at the entry level and hence,only they have been reimbursed.
The nine schools include Bhavan Vidyalaya,Sector 27,SD Public School,Sector 32,Mount Carmel School,Sector 47,Shivalik Public School,Sector 41,Strawberry Fields School,Sector 26,Chitkara International School,Sector 25,Ashiana Public School,Sector 46,Gyan Deep Model High School,Sector 20 and Sri Aurobindo School,Sector 26.
While Bhavan Vidyalaya has been reimbursed Rs 1,03,080,Ashiana Public School has been reimbursed Rs 65,280,Strawberry Fields received Rs 10,380,Chitkara International School received Rs 51,900. The remaining schools have been reimbursed an amount of Rs 31,140 each. The cost of the reimbursed EWS bills for the year 2010-11 was Rs 81,560,while for 2011-12 it was Rs 3,84,600.
The District Education Officer (DEO),Ram Kumar Sharma told the Chandigarh Newsline,For the year 2010-11,only three schools claimed EWS bills,while for 2011-12,six more schools claimed the bills. We have reimbursed the whole amount worth Rs 4,66,160 to the respective schools through cheques. Only those schools have been reimbursed which gave admissions to EWS students at the entry level under RTE Act. We have compensated the private schools for the 10 per cent seats they offered to the EWS students. Now,it is only the bills for the year 2011-12 that remain pending. We are preparing a list for that as well.
An official from the education department said,The rest of the schools did not adopt the criteria of reserving 25 per cent seats for EWS students,due to which they cannot claim reimbursement. Initially,when around 41 schools submitted information regarding the total number of RTE seats and also the number of seats vacant,the estimated amount of the bills was undoubtedly high. However,once the details of these schools were checked,only nine schools were found eligible to claim reimbursement.
We are expecting many more schools to claim reimbursement for the year 2012-13. The RTE Act of reserving seats for EWS students has been properly implemented in schools due to which they took many students this year, the official went on to say.
Meanwhile,president of Independent Schools Association,H S Mamik,said,I would have been very happy if the department had reimbursed the whole pending amount worth Rs 1 crore. The schools are paid Rs 865 for every EWS student per month. The education department has reimbursed only Rs 4,66,160 to the schools. If the department says they have reimbursed the pending bills from 2010-12,the bills should have amounted to more than Rs 10 lakh. The reimbursed amount does not meet actual expenses even halfway.