The Association of Managements of Schools of Karnataka has written a letter to the principal secretary of the Education Department, Umashankar, with a list of their grievances.

Students attending the examinationRepresentative Image/ PTI
news Education Wednesday, July 07, 2021 - 17:51

Many private and unaided schools in Karnataka are demanding the state government release the Right to Education (RTE) funds. Shashi Kumar, General Secretary of the Association of Managements of Schools of Karnataka (KAMS), has said that the government is neglecting its duties by not releasing the funds. Kumar alleged that the Block Education Officers have not been paying to schools the designated amount under various heads like contingency, maintenance, repairs respectively, which is payable by the government.

“The Block Education officers, in different blocks and through unethical means, have been attempting to curtail expenses for which the schools have provided audited reports of expenditure. As per RTE section 12, the government has to pay money spent under various heads like maintenance, contingency as well. The government is isolating itself from the responsibility of the students enrolled under the RTE quota in the private institutions,” Kumar claimed. He said that the association has also written a letter to the government demanding the release of RTE funds.

Kumar further alleged that the government has not been paying the RTE funds on time and that there is a backlog. “The government is yet to pay last year’s dues which were later included in the Rs 700 crore announced for RTE in the budget for the financial year 2021-2022. Additionally, we have only received half the amount of the Rs 700 crore announced,” he added.

He also claimed that the schools have been asked to adjust the RTE reimbursement with the COVID-19 relief package announced by the government. According to a Deccan Herald report, the state government, on July 3, announced that teaching and non-teaching staff of the unaided schools can avail relief money from the Rs 103.47 crore package announced. This came after the earlier announcement of Rs 5,000 relief for teaching and non-teaching staff.

The association, in its letter dated July 6, to the principal secretary of the Education Department, Umashankar, had also said that the issue of RTE reimbursement is affected by the government’s decision to promote all students to the next grade. They say this will result in an increase in expenditure for the schools. “When the number of non-RTE students is artificially increased by the government by mass promoting all students; schools are bound to lose reimbursement money due to arbitrary & ill-advised decisions of the education department,” the association claimed.

Elaborating on the same, Kumar said the amount reimbursed by the government for each RTE student is calculated by dividing the school’s total expenditure by the total number of students admitted. Due to mass promotion, the reimbursement amount per student gets reduced, which is a disadvantage for the schools. Moreover, he said that there is a cap of Rs 16,000 per RTE student when it comes to reimbursement.

Meanwhile, a member of the Independent Schools’ Federation of India, an association of CBSE and ICSE schools said that he was not aware of the issue and added that only some schools have been admitting students under the RTE quota.

The Commissioner of Public Instruction Anubukumar refuted the allegations and added that there is no issue in releasing the funds. “The department has always cleared funds on time. Due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the offices have been closed. Moreover, officers ask the schools to provide documents to cross verify and tally the expenses, some ask for physical copies to ensure that the appropriate reimbursement is received by the schools and in cases, there has been a delay in receiving this paperwork,” he said.

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