1 in 5 private schools in Tamil Nadu has no recognition

Nearly one-fifth of private unaided schools in the state have failed to get or renew their recognition. While many don't satisfy the land requirements prescribed by the department, the norms with regard to teacher-student ratio as per the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act pose problems for others.

The issue came to light after a scholarship meant for children of central government employees could not be disbursed as it could be given only to students of government-recognised institutions.

Sources said at least 1,000 schools did not meet the prescribed land requirements. The school education department had been giving schools time to meet this requirement for more than three years now. But with the implementation of the RTE Act time has run out for many. "We tried to get some land opposite to the school campus, but education department officials are refusing to consider it, saying there shouldn't be even 10 ft gap between the school buildings and the required open space," said a private matriculation school correspondent.

Many admitted that their classrooms were not as big as required. The state expects each student to have 10 sq feet of space in school.

"This issue is not going to get resolved soon. The government can consider enforcing the land requirement for new schools and ask older schools to downgrade according to the land available. It's the only compromise we can think of at the moment," said Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Association general secretary K R Nandakumar.

Some schools claimed submitting application for renewal of recognition several months ago but that the files had not been processed. "The department does not have enough manpower. So, the files have been pending for a long time. We will have to face the consequences though we have done our part," said a private school head.

An official in the matriculation department said, "We have been conducting camps in each educational district to clear the backlog on a war footing."