A high-level committee on the Right to Education (RTE) Act headed by Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath has proposed to extend the reservation policy existing in higher education, to children admitted under the RTE in unaided primary schools.

A senior official of the Education Department, who attended the meeting here on Saturday, said a formal decision is yet to be taken in this regard.

If the government approves the proposal, the existing reservation for Dalits and Other Backward Classes will be extended even for admission of students under the RTE's 25 per cent quota for disadvantaged sections. There is no clarity yet on the allocation for social backwardness and economic backwardness. “It could be 8:2, 6:4 or 5:5,” the official said.

The government is expected to issue a circular in this regard in the next few days.

Fee increase?

The meeting also deliberated on the amount to be reimbursed to schools. “Notwithstanding the reservations expressed by managements of elite schools, the reimbursement will be uniform across all schools,” the official said, before adding that the government may “willy-nilly” allow managements to revise tuition fees to absorb the additional costs incurred to admit the 25 per cent.

The crucial issue of definition of “minority” institutions, which have been excluded from the ambit of the RTE, was also discussed. Referring to the Supreme Court ruling mentioning “sprinkling” of outsiders in minority institutions, the official said that according to the government's interpretation, an institution needs to predominantly comprise minority students to secure the tag that excludes it from the RTE.

The 25 per cent students should necessarily come from within a municipal ward in urban areas as already notified. The deputy directors of Public Instruction are in the process of compiling data on the area to be deemed the school's “neighbourhood”.

The meeting was attended by Kumar Naik, Secretary, Department of Primary and Secondary Education, and Commissioner for Public Instruction Tushar Girinath, among others.