Sending a strong message, Delhi Government today said any private school refusing to reserve 25 per cent of total nursery seats for economically weaker section (EWS) under provisions of Right to Education Act may face derecognition.
Commenting on reports that some private schools have refused to reserve seats for EWS children, Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said government would come down hard on any school found flouting prescribed guidelines.
"We will not hesitate to derecognise any private school if we find that government directives are not followed. There is provision in the Right to Education Act even to prosecute the violators for criminal offences," Lovely told reporters.
He was replying to a question on what kind of punitive action government may take if any school does not reserve 25 per cent of the total seats for EWS children. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, when asked about it, said all the schools have to provide 25 per cent of the seats for children from EWS and non-compliance of the order will be taken seriously by the government.
"If the private schools are facing any problem, we are ready to resolve these through talks. But they will have to comply with the guidelines," Dikshit added. The Education Minister said government would give an assistance in the range of Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 per EWS child monthly to the schools for providing education.
"Apart from that, we will also give the EWS children books and uniform. The private schools should not have any problem as they will be compensated," said Lovely.
He said the yearly financial implication on government for compensating the schools will be around Rs one crore. Expressing strong resolve of the government to ensure full compliance of RTE provisions, Lovely said non-compliance of the law will invite strict punitive action.
"We are very serious about implementing the Act and non-compliance would not be tolerated," said Lovely. Some private schools in the city have refused to abide by the government directive in reserving the seats claiming that the provision of RTE cannot be enforced on them.
The RTE law making education a fundamental right of every child in the age group of six to 14 years had come into force on April one. It makes it obligatory on the part of the state governments and local bodies to ensure that every child gets education in a school in the neighbourhood.
Asked whether government has received any complaints against any school, Lovely said complaints against 15 schools were received and they were mostly related to "discriminatory admission criteria". "Following government intervention, schools have removed the criteria for which complaints were filed," he said.