In the nursery admission season, it is the most unlikely of weapons! But, the Right to Information (RTI) has become a tool in the hands of scores of parents belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) for admission of their wards to nursery classes in private schools.
Despite the fact that there are clear guidelines for admission quota for EWS students in private schools, over the years, it has been observed that several schools have been denying admissions to such students on one or the other pretext.
Pardarshita, an NGO, has been encouraging people to use the RTI for admission process.
“We have been working to spread awareness about the EWS quota seats since 2005. Parents encounter various problems when they approach schools for admission. ‘Sale of forms over’ or ‘You are late’ are the most common reasons. But schools also harass parents by asking for BPL cards, even if they go with income certificate and vice versa,” said Rajiv Kumar of Pardarshita.
The NGO guides such people to first lodge a complaint with the Department of Education and then, follow it up with an RTI application asking ‘what action has been taken on the complaint?’
In this way, the NGO has helped more than 1900 parents to ensure their child gets admission. In fact, with every passing year, the more the awareness about the EWS quota, greater is the number of children who benefit through it.
It started with just about 50 students in the year 2005-06 and now, over the years, the NGO has enabled admission more than 1900 EWS students to get admissions in private schools.
There were 350 such students next year (2006-07); 300 students in 2007-08; 800 plus in 2008-09 and more than 400 in 2009-10, said another Pardarshita activist Ritu Mehra.
Explaining the lesser number of student beneficiaries in 2009-10, as compared to the previous year, Mehra explained, “The number of admissions has not decreased. These numbers are for cases wherein we have helped indirectly. So, the drop (from 800 plus to 400 plus) is because now people are slowly becoming aware and word-of-mouth publicity helps.”
Advocate Ashok Agrawal, who has been spearheading the movement of fair nursery admissions in the capital, observed, “The use of RTI has put additional pressure on schools. As people are becoming more aware, number of admissions in EWS quota is increasing.”