'State offer to pay for poor students not good enough'


The state government’s decision to offer Rs 12,000 annually per student, in accordance with the Apex Court’s ruling for reservation of 25 per cent seats for students from weaker sections, is not going down well with certain schools. 
This is because the schools will be required to bear the rest of the cost. 
As per RTE guidelines, children from reserved categories can opt to study in any private school run by a central or international board in the vicinity of their homes, for which the government will contribute partly towards their education. 
Some schools however, feel that since they have been contemplating on upgrading their education system and syllabus to make it more technology advanced, the government’s offer of Rs 12,000 is too little.
“Since there will be more students, we might have to increase salaries of our teaching and non-teaching staff. We also have to cover other charges and pay for facilities that we provide, which is different from government schools,” said a principal of an ICSE school at Karve Nagar.     
Some educationists even allege that the offer of 25 per cent reservation is merely eyewash, since it is the responsibility of the government to provide poor students with free and compulsory education in its own schools, but it is shifting its responsibility onto private schools. 
“This might not work in the long run as it could be difficult for us to bear extra expenses. However, we haven’t yet decided how we’ll be working over it,” said an official from MH School. 
Some activists in the city say that Rs 12,000 is a reasonable amount, as apart from that the state will also provide uniforms and books free of cost to the children.
 “Most of the schools charge between Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh annually per student, out of which they earn some profit. When they allege that they will have to pay more due to the reservation, then they should prove it on their balance sheet,” said Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education.
The FFE will conduct a statewide seminar in cities, including Pune, Mumbai and Nagpur next month, over the government’s RTE ruling where the activists will seek public opinion and devise methods to tackle inconsistencies through a debate.

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