The RTE provisions are being implemented in the state since 2010 with guidelines for 25 per cent reservation for students belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections in all private, non-minority self-financing institutions at entry-level between LKG and Class one. Under this, 8,628 private schools were to provide 1.16 lakh RTE seats this year. Tiruvallur district, which has the most number of self-financing institutions, had the highest number of 7,075 seats reserved.
According to a senior official from the School Education Department, with the admissions process getting over on November 11, about 1.15 lakh children have enrolled under RTE. “However, during scrutiny, it was found that many parents have made multiple choices of schools. Now that the scrutiny process is almost coming to an end, it is expected that between 70,000 and 75,000 children would be admitted under RTE this year,” he said.
Officials said even if 75,000 kids were admitted under the Act, there would be about 41,000 vacant seats this year. Noting that there were chances that some parents might opt out of RTE, the official said the exact number of students admitted under RTE would be known only after schools reopened.
According to School Education Department data, the number of RTE admissions was 64,385 in 2018-19, which went up to 76,927 last academic year.
Opposing the government’s move to encourage RTE, Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association president PK Ilamaran said state-run schools were losing several thousand students every year due to RTE.
“Though we work hard, admissions to LKG in government schools is low because the government is focussing on implementing RTE by getting admissions to more than four lakh children so far in private schools through the Act. In the process, it has spent several hundred crores of rupees as fee reimbursement,” he added.