Number of reserved seats in private schools under RTE set to come down

  • Vivek Gupta, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 23, 2014 13:05 IST

Thanks to the increase in the number of minority schools in the city, the number of reserved seats under the Right to Education Act (RTE) in private schools is set to come down for the 2015-16 academic year.

Last year, the department had estimated about 1,100 reserved seats under the RTE in local private schools, which is likely to come down to 900 in the coming session.

Department officials said the exact number of the seats would be known only after they compiled the admission details of all private schools but there would definitely be a drop in numbers as the number of minority schools had gone up when compared to last year. As per official information, the number of minority schools has increased to 18 as compared to 14 in the last session.

They are now not liable to admit students from economically weaker sections (EWS) and disadvantaged groups since the Supreme Court (SC) in 2012 exempted minority schools to reserve 25% of the seats in entrylevel classes for such students.

Those schools which were granted minority status recently include St Kabir-26, Kids-R-Kids School-42, Ajit Karam Singh International Public School -41 and Sector 45.

Director of public instruction (schools) Kamlesh Kumar said the increase in minority schools in the city would definitely affect the future of the under-privileged children, who would not get admission to these institutions in the next session.

He said, “Since legally we can’t force these schools, I will be happy if the management of such schools come forwards generously and help poor students.”

If sources are to be believed, the number of reserved seats could drop further as Vivek High School, Sector 38, and Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, are also in the race for getting the minority status before the beginning of the next session.

City- based RTE activist Pankaj Chandgothia said all schools, who sought or were granted minority status after the SC judgement, only aimed at seeking exemption from rules on admission of EWS students rather than seeking minority status per se.

Kumar said the administration must challenge the minority status of these schools in the high court. Officials, however, clarified that even after obtaining minority status, these schools were liable to admit EWS students under their land allotment norms.

But the matter is disputable as private schools have strong objection to admit EWS students under land allotment rules due to the lack of clarity on this issue.

The UT education department on Friday recommended to the local estate office to send show-cause notice to nearly 19 private schools for not admitting 15% EWS students in 2013-14 session as per their land allotment norms.

Private schools have, however, strongly objected this move.

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