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Free education for girls: Unaided schools fume after getting 20-yr-old GR

Recently issued circular by the office of the deputy director of education wants education institutes to provide free education to girls till Standard XII

Free and compulsory education is the right of every child. Keeping this in mind, the office of the deputy director of education recently sent a copy of a 20-year-old government resolution (GR), coaxing schools to provide free education to girls till Std XII.

The circular states that schools whose expenses are covered by the government are obligated to give free education to girls. Pic for representation
The circular states that schools whose expenses are covered by the government are obligated to give free education to girls. Pic for representation

While all the aided schools have received this circular, a group of unaided private schools that received the circular expressed its displeasure. “Our member schools are unaided-private schools and it is not obligatory on them to provide free education, either to the girls or boys, as most of the schools are already covered under the RTE Act.

We have written to the deputy director of education, asking to recall the circular,” said S C Kedia, secretary of Unaided Schools’ Forum (Mumbai). He pointed out that unaided schools, most of which are minority institutes, already give 50 per cent of their seats to a particular minority.

The Supreme Court had made it clear that unaided minority schools were exempted from providing 25 per cent seats for students from economically and socially backward classes. The circular, which quotes from the over two decade old GR, states that a school should ensure that its female students get free education till Class XII and the school can claim for reimbursement of fees from the social welfare department.

The reimbursement will be based on how many girls they provide free education to. The circular states that schools whose expenses are covered by the government are obligated to give free education to girls at the respective institutes.

“These are schools where the expenses per child does not amount to more than Rs 10 and the amount will be reimbursed by the social welfare department. Schools that depend on fees for survival obviously cannot follow this,” said a senior education official.

The other side
“Our circular was sent to all schools for information, and if unaided schools have received the circular then there’s no need to follow it. We have received letters from some schools and told them to take a call on their own,” said N B Chavan, deputy director of (school) education.

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