Reserving 25 per cent of seats for children of poor families in private schools would be mandatory and its violation would be punishable, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said on Monday.
"We will not budge an inch from this mandatory provision in the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009, as we want to give opportunity to all poor children to study in private schools," Sibal told reporters here.
The government enforced the RTE Act April 1, 2010 to ensure free and compulsory education to all children between six and 14 years, including those below poverty line.
Though several private schools expressed concerns over the quota, failure to implement the provision in the next three years will be punishable once the amendment bill to the Act is passed by lawmakers in Parliament.
"If private schools do not comply with the provision, they will not be allowed to function, as it will be difficult to achieve the goal of inclusive education otherwise," Sibal said on the margins of a function in Bangalore.
The national commission for protection of child rights has been mandated to monitor the implementation of the act, while a special division will undertake the task.
"All private schools will have to apply for recognition, failing which they will be penalised up to Rs 100,000. If they still continue to function without paying penalty, they will be liable to pay Rs 10,000 per day as fine," Sibal said.
The commission will also set up a toll free helpline to register complaints against schools violating the provisions of the RTE Act.
To push elementary education to higher standards, Sibal said his ministry laid out plans to create "neighbourhood schools" where the school will mostly be managed by the residents (75 per cent of the managing committee) of which 50 per cent will be the mothers of the children.
"This way, we can reach out to children from lower economic status, minority groups, migrating and streets and bring them to schools thus fulfilling our goal of ensuring education to all," Sibal added.
Sibal was in this tech hub to deliver the Vithal Chandavarkar memorial lecture at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
Chandavarkar was an industrialist, who served as Mayor of Bombay (now Mumbai) and also vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai.