Thursday, August 9, 2012


RTE helplines ringing off the hook Christin Mathew Philip TNN Chennai: Several students from economically underprivileged backgrounds have been dialling the Right to Education (RTE) Act helpline numbers,wanting toknowhowthey could getinto good private schools.According to the Right to Education (RTE) Act,which came into force from April 1,2010,25% seats are reserved for underprivileged sectionsin all private unaided schools. Several private schools in the city have notimplementedthe provision and many people have called the helpline numbers with complaints. The StateCouncilof Educational Research and Training (SCERT ) created theRTEhelpline numbers (044-28278742,28211391 ) to help implement the legislation and give needy students access to private schools.Delhi-based NGO Social Juristhas alsostarted nationalhelplines (09868529459,08826456565 ) for free legal assistance under the RTE Act to studentsfrom poor backgrounds. We have received several calls from various parts of the state, said SCERT joint director (schemes ) M Palanisamy.We are taking steps to address the complaints.We are also conducting various awareness programs for both parents andteachers. Officials of SCERT said several callers ask for documents required for admission under the RTE Act.Many students and parents also want to know the nodalofficersthey shouldcontactfor admissions and the process of reimbursementof schoolfees. Most people arestillunawareof the legislation.Many private schools claim that the RTE quota is not applicable to minority-administered schools, said a senior SCERT official.We are also getting complaints that some private schools are not allowing admission under the RTE Act.We will take every step toensurethattheRTEActis a successin thestate. Ashok Aggarwal,adviser of Social Jurist and national president of the parents association,said the national helpline has received several calls from Tamil Nadu.We are providing legal help to needy studentsseeking admission under the legislation, he said.Some callers have complained of arbitrary hikes in theschoolfeeswithout any notice. Students Federation of India (SFI ) is planning to organise campaigns across the state to promote awareness on the Act.Thefederationsstate president,K S Kanagaraj,said many private schools are flouting the RTE Act.We have been conducting variouscampaigns andseminars demanding effective implementation of thelaw, hesaid. Times of India

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