Nearly five months after the Education Department decided to reimburse Rs 85 lakh to city-based private schools for the expenditure incurred on the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) since 2010,the schools are still awaiting clearance of the bills from the department,which had decided to return the amount in March this year.
A committee constituted by Director Public Instructions (Schools) Upkar Singh to look into the issue,passed a mandate to implement the Right To Education (RTE) Act in favour of the schools. However,nothing has been given to the schools in writing as of now.
A high-powered three-member committee was constituted to look into the reimbursement issue. The committee has submitted its report and we have decided to reimburse the amount by next week. Our mandate is to implement the RTE Act at any cost, Upkar Singh told Chandigarh Newsline.
The UTs District Education Officer (DEO) Ram Kumar Sharma said,We took up the issue of reimbursement to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). All schools submitted the required information regarding the total number of RTE seats and also the number of vacant seats. We have written to MHRD but have not received a reply yet.
Meanwhile,Independent Schools Association (ISA) president,H S Mamik,said,The education department is to be held responsible if even after two years the schools are awaiting reimbursement. Bills worth Rs 1 and a half crore are pending. The department is not able to decide whether it should have charged the EWS students or not. This is a probable reason the department is not able to clear the bills.
Though nothing was given in writing,the education department had assured the schools it would reimburse 10 per cent of the fees. However,none of the schools have received any money yet. It was also decided that if 25 per cent of the fees is reimbursed,then we would not charge 15 per cent from the EWS students, added Mamik.