Fat cheques for quality education
It is now close to six years since the Right to Education Act (RTE) came into force but students in the state are still waiting to reap the benefits of this act. The right of children to free elementary education is still denied to many children as key provisions of the act are yet to be implemented. And free education means no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or other expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing primary education
With admissions open in private schools, parents struggle to find affordable education for their children
It is now close to six years since the Right to Education Act (RTE) came into force but students in the state are still waiting to reap the benefits of this act. The right of children to free elementary education is still denied to many children as key provisions of the act are yet to be implemented. And free education means no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or other expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing primary education. But the truth is far from this rosy definition.
The admission process in schools is cake walk for those who can afford today’s expensive education. There is a plethora of choices and an easy process. But those with limited budgets find themselves dealing with institutions that run businesses. “To seek an admission into a good play school, one has to shell out anywhere between 60,000 to one lakh rupees. Just imagine the fees of primary and secondary education.
It’s the exorbitant fees and the high-handed functioning of private schools that is making the whole admission process a bitter experience. The order to regulate the fees in these private schools should be implemented soon,” rued Prabhakar Mudiraj, a parent seeking admission for his four-year-old son.
The news of the RTE Act came as a respite to socially and economically backward students. But many parents are still unaware that corporate schools have to set aside 25 per cent of their seats for those who can’t afford education. And the private institutions are more than willing to capitalise on this ignorance and shut their gates on them. The RTE Act enables the states to prepare their own model rules or list of benefits that can be offered to the students. But most of the private schools in the city are only hiking their fee structures.
A security guard of a plush private school in the city dreams of educating his daughter in the same school but calls the admission process a ‘pricey affair’. “It’s every parent’s dream to ensure that his child gets educated in a school with good infrastructure, well-equipped classrooms, library, labs and transport among other facilities. But I am forced to send my daughter to a government school in West Maredpally.
When my daughter comes to visit me at the school, the sight of the classrooms and students makes her feel sad and left out.” On consulting the administration to see if his daughter had a chance to secure admission in the school, he received a rather ‘frank’ feedback from the staff, who believed he was aiming for something beyond his reach.
Another parent, Vidya Rani, rues, “Our child would have made it to a good school had this act come into play. Quality education cannot be expected from the small private schools that we can afford. So now we are forced to make ends meet to be able to enroll our child in an A-list school”.
Mithali Panchal, who children study at Delhi Public School, also agrees. “The whole education system seems more like a business. What makes it worse is that the painful process does not end with admission and donations. We have to continue shelling out money for school uniforms, books and other expenses and that adds to the pressure. We moved from Maharashtra to Telangana three years ago and I can say that this State lags far behind in providing quality education and facilities.”