Chennai: The School Education department’s initiative to amend the RTE admission rules comes against the backdrop of irregularities and a lack of transparency in enrollment. The RTE is being implemented in TN from 2013-2014, ensuring 25 per cent reservation for students belonging to the weaker sections in all private non-minority self-financing schools at entry levels such as LKG and Class 1.
Though there was an increase in the enrollment under RTE in the initial stages, the number has decreased to 56,687 in 2021-22 from 97,506 admissions in 2016-17. Every year, there are about 1.03 lakh seats under RTE available in little over 8,300 private schools across the State.
A senior official from the School Education Department, seeking anonymity, told DT Next that the main reason for the decrease in the RTE admission was a lack of transparency, especially at the initial stage of the enrollment process.
“Though the RTE admission process was made online, most of the parents, especially in the rural areas, prefer physical registration due to lack of internet access,” he said and alleged, “taking advantage of it, many private schools do not show either physical enrollment record or provide receipts to the parents”.
Explaining the new guidelines, the official said from now on all the managements of private schools were strictly instructed to provide receipts for physical registrations besides uploading them on the official RTE admission portal. “Uploading the records has to be done in front of the parents,” he said.
“Unlike usual practice, the schools could not alter the RTE admissions in the Education Management Information System (EMIS), an online portal connecting schools, teachers, and students,” he said adding “even before the admission process, the schools should send the exact number of seats available under RTE to their respective district education officer”.
The official said many private schools do not display RTE admission details (flex-board size 6x10 feet) in front of the main gate, which is against the rules. “Now the education officers, who will conduct surprise check, will also ensure that all the rules were followed by the schools,” he said adding “awareness on RTE admission among the parents will also be conducted by the official of local bodies”.