Delhi | EWS admission confusion leads to harassment of parents

As admissions for the economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups to private schools under the Right to Education Act get underway in Delhi, there is confusion among the families in these categories as well as in the schools.

Parents are being harassed by schools which demand fees, ignore ration cards as income proof, demand income proof from the disadvantaged groups, refuse admission due to minor errors in address, or charge for books and uniforms, claimed Delhi-based NGO Indus Action. Apart from refusal on seemingly technical grounds, some schools go so far as to bar entry of the families belonging to EWS and DG category, or set up limited and arbitrary timings for their entry into the school, Indus Action added.

When asked why schools are reluctant to admit children according to the RTE provisions, Indus Action’s Anurag Kundu said, “The reimbursement that private schools will get will open their account books to government scrutiny. Second, is a cultural issue — the prejudice and lack of internalisation of diversity.”

Reimbursements to the schools have been delayed, affecting the financial health of a school. “Apart from the cultural issue, the other two can be taken care of by the government, only if it chooses to care,” said Mr Kundu.

Under Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE, a child in the age group of 3-6 years belonging to the economically weaker section or disadvantaged group (SC/ST/OBC, people with disability, orphan or transgender) can get admission in all unaided, non-minority, private schools. Under this section, the child is entitled to free admission, books and uniforms, and does not have to pay tuition fees. The RTE mandates the reservation of 25 per cent seats in entry-level classes (nursery, KG or Class 1) in all unaided, non-minority, private schools for children from socially and economically disadvantaged sections.

Though the Directorate of Education is committed, there is very little that the city government can do against the schools under the Delhi School Education Act, said Mr Kundu. “The only options available are shutting (the schools) down and taking-over their administration. This is an extreme step which no government would like to take. So usually, schools have a free run,” said Mr Kundu.

One parent in Onkar Nagar has made several trips to the school his child has been allocated. “The school is refusing to admit my child because my name is not on the ration card, it only has my wife’s name. They have also asked me to pay Rs 200,” the confused father said. “I don’t know what is happening, I will keep checking,” he added.

When contacted by this newspaper, the school vehemently denied asking for any fees. “Schools like us are helping the government execute its policies. But even after giving the education department data every year for the past three years, no amount has been reimbursed till date,” said the school manager, on condition of anonymity for fear of prosecution by the government. “We take in children under the RTE in the spirit of providing education, but how long can we carry on in this manner?”

In another case of violation of the RTE, a school in East Vinod Nagar initially told parents there would be no admissions in their school through the provisions of the RTE, a relative of a child seeking admission told this newspaper. “When we demanded that they write on our form that they will not conduct RTE admissions, they simply refused,” he said. When the school was contacted by this reporter, it said they had received “lots of forms,” and would hold a draw on March 25.

“It’s ridiculous to conduct a draw on the March 25 when the academic session is supposed to start from April 1. After the lottery, at least one week should be given for the formalities and there should be provision for another round of draw lest some parents back out,” said Indus Action volunteer Robin Keshaw.

Source : The Asian Age 

Delhi | On Day 4, parents applying under EWS category left perplexed

It has been four days since nursery admissions began in the Capital, but confusion still prevails among those applying under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category — which have gone online for the first time.

Admissions under the EWS category are being done online for schools recognised under the Delhi School Education Act and Rules (DSEAR), 1973.

The process remains offline for schools recognised under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

As many as 418 schools are accepting offline admissions, but since there is no list notifying the same, parents are left confused.

In fact, many parents are facing problems with the software developed by the Directorate of Education (DoE).

Further, the site crashed a few time on the first day of the admissions. Sources at the DoE said that the government is working on the issues in the software and would make an announcement in this regard soon.

Akriti Gupta, who is applying for her daughter under the EWS category, said: “There is so much confusion in this category. Some schools are taking forms online, some are taking forms offline. So far I have been able to apply to just two schools for my daughter through the online process, but I don’t thing that is enough because the number is seats is limited. I have no idea which schools are accepting offline forms. I will have to go to some schools,” said Ms. Gupta.

Experts, meanwhile, say that parents should not fill forms in haste as they have time till January 15.

“There is no need to panic. If the government is working on something, then the parents should wait for at least two to three days,” said Sumit Vohra, who runs a portal on nursery admission.

Mr. Vohra has also set up a help desk at P.P. International School in Pitampura for parents of wards under the EWS category.

Though the government had said that they will make things easier for people in the slums by deputing NGOs to help them, the move does not seem to be of much help. Parents also said that cyber cafes are charging a lot for filling up forms for them.

 Source : The Hndu

Delhi | 25 per cent EWS quota in all nurseries, playschools

Delhi: Deputy Chief Minister and Education minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday ordered all nurseries, playschools, creches and pre-primary schools, allotted land by a government agency or the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), to reserve 25 per cent of its seats for students from the economically weaker sections (EWS).

Implementing the guidelines issued by the Delhi High Court in November 2014, the Delhi government has also decided that EWS students will not be charged registration fee or be asked to pay for the prospectus. According to the High Court guidelines, every school on government land will have to display the number of seats it has on its website as well as on an easily accessible public notice board.

As laid down in the guidelines, playschools on government land will not conduct any tests or interviews of parents or the child while admitting children from the EWS category. If applications exceed the number of seats available, the school will grant these admissions by ‘draw of lots’.

A Delhi government official said the eligibility of a student to apply to a school close to his/her residence will be determined according to the norms laid down in the Right to Education (RTE) Act. According to Section 3 of the RTE Act, a child shall have “the right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till the completion of his or her elementary education”.

The High Court had clarified that its order would apply exclusively to playschools, nurseries and creches running on government land. It will also apply to private unaided recognised schools — other than minority schools — whether on government or private land, and having entry level classes such as pre-school, pre-primary or Class I. These schools should continue to reserve 25 per cent of its seats for EWS students under provisions of the RTE Act, the court order had said.

Government officials said schools failing to implement the order will face serious action by the government, including cancellation of the land lease by the government agency or the DDA.

Source: The Indian Express

Delhi | Provide free books, uniforms or get de-recognised: Govt to private schools

Delhi: The Education Department has issued strict directions to de-recognise schools which do not give free books and uniforms to children under the EWS category.

Private schools refusing to provide free books and uniforms to children studying under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category will soon face the prospect of de-recognition.
The Education Department has issued strict directions to de-recognise schools which do not give free books and uniforms to children under the EWS category.
Stating that schools “cannot escape from the obligation laid down under the provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009”, the order directs schools to either comply or face the prospect of de-recognition.

“In case of non-compliance with the directions, the process of de-recognition of the school – on account of violation of relevant provisions under the RTE Act, 2009 (Rule 15) – shall be initiated. The issue will also be brought to the notice of the competent authority in the DDA for taking necessary action against the defaulting schools,” the circular sent by the department to all schools states.

There are 68,951 EWS students in Delhi. According to an affidavit submitted by the Directorate of Education in the Delhi High Court, 51,000 of them are currently studying in schools that do not provide books and uniforms for free.

The Supreme Court in 2011 had ruled that any barriers, including financial ones, which prevented children from getting quality education, should be removed. Section 8(1) of the Delhi RTE Act also states that entitlements — including books, uniforms and writing material — have to be provided by schools.

Noting that it was “wholly unacceptable” on the government’s part that nearly 51,000 children have to go without books and uniform, the High Court had said last year that “it was the government’s as well as the schools’ duty to ensure that free textbooks are provided”.

But with the entitlement amount per child — that is given by the government — being too low to meet all costs, schools said they are under no obligation to adhere to the rule.

“The government pays a little more than Rs 600 for each child’s books and uniform. The amount is hardly enough to compensate us. We can’t be expected to pay lakhs of rupees from our own pockets,” R C Jain, president, Delhi State Public Schools’ Management Association, had said.

Source: The Indian Express