In Madurai more than 5,800 seats have been allotted under RTE Act across 447 schools for the academic year 2019/20.
Though the application could be submitted only through online (http://rte.tnschools.gov.in/tamil-nadu), most of the parents who had come to the CEO office from both the urban and rural areas of Madurai district said that they either didn’t know to use internet or that the website wasn’t working when they had gone to browsing centres for the same. As a large number of people thronged the CEO office for help, they were issued tokens and staffs were deputed to help them submit the online application.
A parent Pandiselvi from Sakkudi, who had come to CEO office to admit her second daughter at a private school in her village said that she rushed to apply through RTE quota on the first day itself as her elder daughter also got admission a few years back through the same and hence she didn’t want to miss out on this quota this time as well. “We want to provide free education for our younger daughter too in the same school,” she told ToI.
Another parent M Ramar from Othakadai though, said that he didn’t have the most preferred school of choice, but just wanted to make his son study at a private institution near his house. “I went to a few browsing centres, but the website didn’t work anywhere, so finally came here. The staff asked me to enter five options and I have given them,” he added.
Among those who gathered, a few claimed that even if RTE meant free education, they were still concerned as there were rumours that the private schools demanded “additional fee” and especially the “book fees”. Almost all the parents, though, almost unanimously called for the RTE application process to be simpler and said it would be more convenient for them if it was done offline. Even an official said, “This RTE act admission is for the underprivileged – but when you have an online application process for them, they struggle a lot.”
It should be noted that 25% of seats are reserved at the entry level (LKG or Class I depending on the particular school) in the eligible schools under RTE. To secure a seat under RTE, parents must fill the online application with annual income (not exceeding Rs 2lakh/-) while those from the SC/ST or OBC don’t need to mention their income. Candidates belonging to disadvantaged groups would also be eligible to apply under RTE. Also, the school they’re applying to should be within 1km radius from their residence. Apart from the CEO office, parents could also go to district educational offices in Melur, Usilampatti and Thirumangalam and also to the Block Resource Centres in the district and block educational offices for assistance to submit online applications. The last date for submitting applications is May 18.