RTE admissions drastically dip in TN since 2016-17

From 97,506 admissions in 2016-17, the number nosedived to 56,687 in 2021-22.
RTE admissions drastically dip in TN since 2016-17
A senior official from the Department, told DT Next on conditions of anonymity that though the number of RTE admissions picked up for a few years since it was introduced in TN, it declined gradually.

Chennai: Contrary to the State government’s plans on increasing admissions under the Right to Education (RTE), the number of kids admitted to private schools under the Act has drastically reduced over the years.

The RTE is being implemented in TN from 2013-2014 ensuring 25% 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.

The School Education Department’s official statistics reveal that the number of RTE admissions was 97,506 in 2016-17 compared to 2021-22’s figure of 56,687.

A senior official from the Department, told DT Next on conditions of anonymity that though the number of RTE admissions picked up for a few years since it was introduced in TN, it declined gradually.

Providing the exact figures, the official said in 2013-14, the number stood at 49,864. “The figures increased to 86,729 in 2014-2015, registering a 42.5% rise. In 2015-2016 it climbed to 94,811 and touched 97,506 in 2016-2017,” the official said.

The official further said that though nearly 6.6 lakh students have been admitted to private schools under RTE since it was introduced till date, the number dipped in 2017-2018 when admissions stood at 90,607. In 2018-2019, the number saw a significant slump at 64,385. “However, thanks to the authorities’ efforts, the figures slightly increased to 76,927 in 2019-2020,” the official said. “Again, admissions dipped to 70,379 in 2020-2021 and further to 56,687 in 2021-2022,” he added.

Citing reasons for the deteriorating numbers, another official from the Directorate of Matriculation said that though children getting admitted through RTE needn’t pay fees, their uniforms, notebooks, and other school items have to be purchased, which is a costly affair.

“Moreover, many parents who were financially affected due to Covid, preferred only government schools, which provide all school-related materials free of cost,” he added.

State Platform for Common School System – Tamil Nadu (SPCSS-TN) general secretary PB Prince Gajendra Babu said RTE admission ensures that even poor children get into private schools.

However, he added that such admissions do not ensure that kids from poor backgrounds are at a par with their richer counterparts.

Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association president P K Ilamaran, meanwhile, said that instead of encouraging RTE, the government should concentrate on improving the infrastructure of State-run schools to bring them on a par with private institutions.

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