With the school admission season just around the corner, the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education has made it clear that the 25% quota for economically weaker sections (EWS) will apply not just at nursery level but to kindergarten and Class 1 too.
This is because the EWS provision under the Right to Education Act is for all entry-level admissions, and there are some schools in the city where the entry level is KG or Class 1. Most schools, however, admit quota students only to nursery classes due to lack of clarity.
Implementation of this rule would shrink the number of seats for the general category in an already competitive field.
On the flip side, it would mean 5,000-10,000 more seats for poor students, said Ashok Agarwal, founder of the NGO Social Jurist. “Many parents don’t know the rule applies to KG and Class 1 too. Once they become aware and assertive, implementation will be better,” he said.
For example, if a school admits 100 students in nursery, 25 of them must be from the EWS category.
If the same school decides to add 50 new students in Class 1 to those promoted from the lower class, it will have to reserve 12 of those 50 seats for the EWS category.
"There was little clarity on the issue till the Delhi high court judgment earlier this year, which clearly stated that all new admissions till Class 1 will include 25% EWS students. We conducted a special drive in June and July to fill the vacant seats," said Amit Singla, director of education, Delhi government.