Anita Joshua

No mention in the fresh draft under consideration

Only private schools provided State concession under obligationStates will draw up their own legislation

NEW DELHI: The Union Human Resource Development Ministry has dropped its move to impose 25 per cent reservation for children from the weaker sections in unaided schools at the elementary level.

Though such reservation had been included in all the draft legislation drawn up by the Ministry to operationalise the Fundamental Right to Education, it finds no mention in the current draft under consideration.

In the model law that is being considered wherein States will draw up their own legislation to operationalise the Fundamental Right reservation of any kind in private schools is compulsory only if the said institution has received some concession from the State.

This change has come about after the Central Board of Secondary Education an autonomous organisation under the HRD Ministry was forced to go back on its decision to make fee waiver for the single girl child mandatory in all schools affiliated to it from Classes VI to XII. The Board went back on its order after some private schools secured a stay from the Delhi High Court.

According to the draft on the table now, only those private schools "under obligation at the commencement of this Act to either the Central Government or an appropriate government or any authority/agency representing or acting on their behalf to provide free education to a specified number of children as a consequence of having received land/building/equipment/other facilities either free of cost or at subsidised rates" will have to make this concession.

From the very first draft prepared by the National Democratic Alliance Government the Ministry had sought to make it compulsory for private schools to contribute to the national endeavour to provide free and compulsory education to all children in the six-to-14 age group. The only difference was that the NDA confined it to children from poor families and capped the reserved component at 20 per cent.

The United Progressive Alliance Government, in its drafts, increased the reserved component to 25 per cent. Also, instead of confining it to children from poor families, the UPA first used the word "disadvantaged groups" and then replaced it with "weaker sections" in successive drafts.

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