State education official retracts comment about charging fee from RTE students

State director of education (primary) does backflip on fee comment, says he never said schools admitting pre-primary students under 25% quota can ask for fees

After announcing that nursery schools in the state that have given admission to poor children under the RTE can demand school fees from them, state education director (primary) Mahaveer Mane has had to eat his words.

Mahaveer Mane said he had been misquoted. Pic/Mohan Patil

After his comments drew the ire of NGO representatives, Mane did a complete U-turn and said that no school should charge fees from students admitted under the 25 per cent reservation quota mandated by the Right To Education (RTE) Act.

On Tuesday while giving a statement to the media, Mane had said that according to RTE, the entry point for students is Std I. Hence pre-primary schools in the state that have admitted students under RTE can charge them fees, as they will not be reimbursement by the government.

But yesterday, he said, “The pre-primary schools should not charge any fees from RTE quota students.” Harshad Barde, representative of Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat NGO, who has handed over a written complaint to the director against his remarks, said, “What the director said is a complete violation of the RTE.

Whether its primary or pre-primary schools, it has specifically been clarified that elementary education to students admitted under its 25 per cent quota should be given free of cost by all schools.”

In his complaint, Barde also attached a copy of a state government notification on RTE dated March 15, 2013, clearing the same point.

Questioned about his flip-flop, “My statement was misquoted by some newspapers. I said that pre-primary schools will not get any fee reimbursement for admitting students under the RTE quota. I did not say that it means nursery schools can charge fees.”

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