The AAP Government in Delhi has been on ad blitz since it came to power. Its over the top celebration of 1 year in power saw crores spent in countless TV, Print and FM Radio ads across the country. All this while the Government claims that it had no money for paying salaries of municipal and sanitation workers. And AAP ads are not limited to Delhi alone – they are splashed in various towns and cities across the country. So residents of cities like Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru regularly get to know about the ‘achievements’ of the AAP Government in Delhi – all this at the expense of the Delhi taxpayer!
- The per-child reimbursement for RTE quota admissions given to private unaided (unaided means schools which don’t get any grant or aid from the Government) schools is at the discretion of the State Government.
- Lets say a private school is charging Rs 4000 per month for its regular students. But the State Government says that it will only pay Rs. 2500 per-child per month for the RTE quota students.
- So now the school has to absorb the differential cost (Rs 1500) out of its own pocket.
- Even for the Rs 2500 approved reimbursement, it has to run after the education department officials who can always quote one of the many arcane provisions (like size of playground) in RTE to keep them hanging. There have reports from Tamil Nadu to Maharashtra of schools waiting for 2-3 years without any sign of the reimbursement!
- So a school has 3 options in this scenario
- Hike the fees for the regular students to cross-subsidize the RTE quota set
- Grease palms of Government babus and politicians so that Govt reimbursement is released
- Close the school – many are now taking this option, given that we are seeing aggressive legal action against alleged RTE ‘violators’.
- Government is not bound to reimburse schools for uniform and stationery. This is another gray area where private schools have to slug it out with Government, assorted NGOs (mostly FCRA funded), civil society ‘activists’ etc to get their due. Or they can just take the easy option and hike fees for the regular students.
RTE – The Regulatory Beast Custom Designed for Hindu Schools
To those with long memories, all this will sound eerily similar to the ‘license-permit’ raj which had shackled industry & business under the Nehru-Indira economic model, till Narasimha Rao finally opened up the economy in 1991. Keeping her family tradition alive, Sonia Gandhi has effectively shackled and throttled our education system. But with one significant difference. And this is where we come to the part that should disturb every rational Hindu in this country. Lets go back to the AAP ad again. This is the key part of the ad (emphasis added) –
“Provision of free books, uniforms and other stationary for EWS/DG category students in private schools (except minority schools) is mandatory.”
Voila! RTE doesnt apply to minority run schools (even if they are aided, i.e receive Government funding)! And no, we are not talking about madrassas (Islamic religious schools) here, but the St. Columbus, St. Cathedral, Ryan Internationals etc of the world.
Beautiful, isn’t it? With an immaculate sleight of hand, Sonia Gandhi ensured that privately run Hindu schools are browbeaten to comply with a draconian law like RTE in the name of ‘inclusion’ & ‘social justice’, while her core votebank is kept out of the ambit of this disastrous law. So while Nehru and Indira were impartial in their determination to strangulate our economy, Sonia has created an uneven playing field where minority run educational institutions have a huge advantage over their Hindu counterparts.
After all, why would the parent of a Hindu child send her/his ward to a Hindu school which charges higher fees (to compensate for the RTE quota admissions), when a nearby Christian school offers the same education for much less? And to top it off, the Christian school has all the freedom to appoint staff, set teacher salary, decide curriculum, teaching methodology etc – basics which Hindu school administrators lack due to various provisions of RTE. More flexibility in running the school means better learning outcomes.
So here is the Hobson’s choice – a school which charges less fees and offers a better learning environment for your child – so what if little Niharika or Ansh have to sing Christian hymns, attend chapel once a week, and not wear ‘religious symbols’ like mehandi, rakhee etc to school? Dont you know – we Hindus need to be more tolerant and not think such communal thoughts! Off they go to the nearest convent!
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