Parents of around 25 students agitated in front of the district collectorate in Jamshedpur on Monday to protest against some private schools seeking fees from BPL students.
The parents, most from Bagbera and Kitadih localities, assembled under the banner of Bagbera Vikash Samity (BVS). They alleged that some schools had asked BPL students to pay fees or else they would not be allowed to appear for the examinations.
"It is a blatant violation of the Right to Education (RTE) directive as BPL students have to be provided free education while the cost should be reimbursed by the government. However, since the government has not paid the amount for 2012-13 session, the schools have started demanding fees. We met the district education officials, but they too are clueless," said Ganesh Vishwakarma, a parent and president of BVS.
According to RTE norms, each private school would have to reserve 25 per cent of total seats for BPL students at the entry level of admission. The government will reimburse the fees of each of the BPL students admitted in the school.
The parents submitted a memorandum addressed to governor Syed Ahmed through East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Himani Pande calling for reimbursement of fees in different schools for BPL students.
"Why should BPL students suffer due to the tussle between government and private schools? If the government had promised to reimburse the fee then it should do it as otherwise the students would suffer," said Vishwakarma.
In over 60 private schools in and around the city around 3,000 BPL students have availed of the government sop.
Jamshedpur Abhibhavak Sangh (JAS) president Umesh Kumar said complaints have been coming from different schools seeking fees on different alibis like examination fees from BPL candidates.
East Singhbhum district superintendent of education (DSE) Abhay Shankar while admitting government failure in reimbursing fees of BPL students for 2012-13 session said soon after getting details about BPL students from schools, he would be taking up the issue with state HRD department.
"I have sought details from private schools on BPL students within a week and would be sending the same to state HRD for reimbursement of the amount," the DSE said.
A.P.R. Nair, secretary of Jharkhand Unaided Private Educational Institutions, said they cannot provide free education for long if the government fails to reimburse the amount.
"We will be waiting till March 31, 2013 to get reimbursement from government. If it does not happen then we would be chalking out a joint (all private schools) strategy and even take legal recourse," said Nair.