Private schools in Maharashtra may not have to accommodate underprivileged students from the neighbourhood in 25% of their seats, the government has said.
The Right To Education Act, which came into force on April 1, makes the reservation mandatory, but private schools will have to implement it if the state is unable to accommodate these students in its own schools.
“We will first accommodate these students in government and aided schools and then, if needed, in private schools,” said Fauzia Khan, minister of state for school education. “We are working on a plan to ensure there are enough schools in all parts of the state.”
“It will not be mandatory for private schools to make space for these students,” said a senior official from the education department. “But they should be prepared to do so if the need arises.”
Disadvantaged students include those from economically weak sections, those who are physically handicapped or have learning disabilities.
The state has implemented different clauses of the Act but is yet to implement the reservation. It is also unclear who — the state or the Centre — will pay for students admitted under the reservation.