School bodies such as Delhi Sate Public School Management (DSPSM), an association of unrecognised
private schools, and Federation of Public Schools (FPS), an association of 300 of private schools, on Thursday said
they will not follow the government directive regarding reserving 25% seats in nursery classes for students from EWS category.
The reservation of 25% seats has been made mandatory under Right to Education (RTE) Act from the 2011-12 academic session in Delhi.
The nursery admission guidelines issued by the Delhi government also reiterated the same.
DSPSM chairperson RC Jain said, "This is an attempt by the government to create a vote bank. Taking children from EWS category will mean schools may have to increase their fee, the burden of which will have to be borne by the general category students. This is not fair."
On Thursday, Delhi education minister Arvinder Singh had warned schools against denial of nursery admission to EWS children, saying
strict against will be taken against those who do not follow the rule. Six months ago Action Committee, an umbrella
organisation of all the various school bodies comprising 1,950 unaided recognised schools in the city, had filed a petition against the reservation for EWS under the RTE Act.
They had said the act undermines the autonomy of the schools, earlier granted under the TMA Pai judgment.
But on Friday SL Jain, senior vice-president, Action Committee, and principal of Mahavir Jain Senior Secondary School, said, "Though we have filed a petition in the court, the hearing is yet to take place. Till then we will follow the RTE
Act and grant reservation to EWS students. All schools should respect the law of the land and act accordingly."
School bodies such as National Progressive School Conference (NPSC), an organisation with about 110 leading private schools, have also condemned the statement made by DSPSM and FPS.
"We condemn such irresponsible and insensitive statements made by school bodies. We categorically state that we have nothing to do with it and will follow the RTE Act completely," said Goldy Malhotra, chairperson, NPSC, and principal of Modern School, Vasant Vihar.
"Does being poor mean that you are only entitled to poor education? Reservation
will ensure that the education system is equitable and even the poor can access good education," said Ameeta Wattal, secretary, NPSC, and principal of Springdales School, Pusa Road.
Unaided public schools in the city had expressed their dissatisfaction about the amount of money being reimbursed by the government to them for EWS category.
Though an official circular is awaited on the amount to be reimbursed, the education minister had indicated that it will be anything between Rs 1,000-Rs 1,300 per child, which the said schools claimed was too less.