The implications of the order passed by the Directorate of Education on Tuesday that commands all schools, which have taken land on concessional rates from DDA, to reserve 15% of all seats in all classes are not going to be felt by schools alone.
With a number of schools, which include some of the most popular schools in the city, being asked to take in 15% students and educate them free of cost in all classes, the costs may be transferred to the parents from the general category.
This new order does not apply to entry level classes where 25% seats are reserved for EWS students. It applies to all remaining classes up to class 12.
Out of the 410 schools which got land at low rates, a large number had forgotten about the requirement till they were reminded by a public interest litigation, filed by an NGO in the high court. Schools, however, say that this decision is going to increase pressure on them.
"We have already been admitting 25% students from the EWS category at the entry level which has been quite difficult for us. This 15% in the remaining classes is going to be more problematic and we may have to increase fee for the general category parents. We can only take further action after a board meeting has taken place," said a principal of a prominent South Delhi school.
But education experts disagree.
"These schools had got land especially on the condition that they would admit students from the EWS category. They have got a free pass for a very long time and it is high time that they started following the rules," said a senior official at the DOE.
But the order is not all bad news for schools. There are quite a few schools that got land on the condition that they would reserve 25% of all seats for the EWS category. These schools will now just have to reserve 15% of their seats.
"According to the High Court order, the percentage has been fixed at 15%. What is significant is that it includes minority schools that were exempt under the RTE Act," said Amit Singla, director, education.