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Updated: January 13, 2010 20:44 IST

Private schools get the stick on poor quota

Vidya Subrahmaniam
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School children returning to home in New Delhi. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu
School children returning to home in New Delhi. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

All private schools built on land allotted by the Government in Delhi have been directed to prominently display details relating to admission of poor students under the compulsory 20 per cent quota for economically weaker sections (EWS). As many as 394 private schools in the Capital are built on land allotted by the Government.

The direction was issued by the Central Information Commission on December 21, 2009, following a complaint that the Directorate of Education had failed to publicise the scheme, resulting in poor students not being able to access private schooling.

Two years ago, the Directorate of Education in Delhi, acting under pressure from the Central Government, had made it compulsory for private schools built on government land to reserve 20 per cent of their seats for EWS children. This came as a window of opportunity for poor children aspiring to go to prestigious private schools but without the means to get there.

But with private schools resisting the move and the Directorate itself doing nothing to publicise the scheme, the notification remained largely on paper. The bulk of the poor students were unaware that they were eligible for free education in private schools. Those who did fetch up at the private schools were often arbitrarily turned out. Poor students and their families also had no way of knowing if a school had fulfilled the 20 per cent quota.

To rectify this, the Central Information Commission on August 2 last year directed the Directorate of Education to display on its website the names of students admitted to private schools in the past three years under the EWS quota. On December 1, a citizen, Ritu Mehra, complained in a letter to the CIC that the information was not available on the Directorate’s website.

Acting on the complaint, Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi issued a fresh direction to the Directorate, this time asking it to ensure that the schools prominently display and update the following information: Total number of seats in all classes; total vacancies; number of applications received under the EWS quota; and number of seats allotted under the quota.



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