Twelve students belonging to the economically-weaker section at Rohini’s Vidya Bharati School have decided to skip classes till the school provides them with winter uniforms, mandatory under the Right to Education Act.
The children decided against rejoining classes after the Diwali break since the school turned away students without winter uniforms last year after failing to provide it to them.
The school’s winter uniform comprises a full-sleeved shirt, woolen pants, a sweater and a blazer. The blazer alone costs upto Rs 2,500, unaffordable for a EWS family that has a monthly income of less than Rs 8,500.
Parents allege the school doesn’t let students enter the premises without a blazer. The principal did not comment on the issue."The school harasses and insults children who cannot afford uniforms and come to school without it. The parents and children have made it clear they won’t attend school till they get the uniform. It is their right," said Satya Prakash of Social Jurist, an organisation that works in RTE.
According to the RTE and orders by the directorate of education and the Delhi high court, all schools are bound to provide EWS students with free books, uniform and writing material.
A Delhi government affidavit in the HC, however, admitted that 51,500 out of the 68,000 EWS students in Delhi schools haven’t received free uniforms. More than 50,000 have not been given any books.
Some schools give students money to purchase uniforms but the sum is generally inadequate. In turn, the government reimburses private schools to the tune of Rs 600 per uniform given to each EWS student.