Chennai, May 6: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday saying the future of many schoolchildren in the state could be in jeopardy if the Sarva Siksha programme is not in conformity with the law.
In the letter, the text of which was released to the media here, Panneerselvam, citing the amendments made to the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan framework said: "However, if the Ministry of Human Resource Development does not change its obdurate stance, it could place in jeopardy the future of the 1,36,593 children who have already been admitted in the academic years 2013-14 and 2014-15 and are pursuing their education in unaided private schools."
According to Panneerselvam, The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act requires all unaided private schools to admit in Class I or in pre-school, children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups to the extent of at least twenty-five percent of the strength of that class.
He also said the act provides for reimbursement of the expenditure incurred by the schools towards such children based on the per-child expenditure incurred by the state or the actual amount charged from the child whichever is lesser. According to Panneerselvam, 49,864 children were admitted in 2013-14 and 86,729 children in 2014-15 in the state either in pre-school or in Class I.
The private schools have submitted their claims for reimbursement to the Tamil Nadu government amounting to Rs.25.13 crore in 2013-14 and Rs.71.91 crore in 2014-15, he said.
According to Panneerselvam, the ministry of human resource development modified the scheme to the effect that the reimbursement would be effective from 1st April, 2014 and only for Classes I to VIII and further subject to 20 percent of the annual budget for states under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
"This is a completely arbitrary restriction and violates the provisions of Section 12 (1)(c) of the Act, which provides for admitting children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in pre-school as well, where the school imparts pre-school education," he said.