Unaided schools bound to provide free education: CBSE

‘Managements could get the cost reimbursed from govt.’

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Thursday informed the Kerala High Court that private unaided schools are bound to provide free education to children belonging to weaker and disadvantaged sections as per the provisions in the Right to Education Act (RTE).

In a statement filed in the High Court, the CBSE submitted that school managements could get the cost reimbursed from the respective State governments. The statement was filed in response to a petition by Albert K.P. of Ernakulam for a directive to take appropriate steps to appoint officers to assess actual tuition fees for conducting online classes.

The petitioner contended that due to ongoing lockdown and economic slow down, most of the parents were in dire straits. Therefore, they found it difficult to pay the full fee demanded by the school authorities.

The State government submitted that it discouraged parents to choose unaided CBSE schools. In fact, a combined reading of the RTE Act and Kerala Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules showed that parents of a child could not choose schools, ignoring the statute requiring them to admit their wards in the neighbouring school.

A child could get admission in a neighbouring government school in the State as aided schools within the walking distance were established as provided in the rules. The government submitted that a total of 5,995 government schools are functioning in the State, while the aided sector had 8,210 schools. The number of unaided schools came to 1,823. So, the plea to disburse tuition fees to the schools was unsustainable.

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