The state government has expressed happiness over the Supreme Court judgment that upheld the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which mandates 25% free seats to the poor in government and private unaided schools.
This will mean that most private schools that are not ‘minority’, across boards including CBSE, ICSE, IB schools will need to keep aside 25% of the seats for economically weaker sections.
“This is the flagship act of the UPA government and we are committed to implement it in Maharashtra. We are yet to get a copy of the order, but considering the rule has been upheld we will be coming out with the definition of ‘economically weaker sections’ and the implementation guidelines for the rule soon," Education minister Rajendra Darda told HT.
The government had kept the implementation of the decision on hold since there were no clear directions on the definition of this reserved section.
However, questions still remain over how fees will be reimbursed to schools. “The act clearly says that fees equal to that spent on a single child studying in a government school, including the funds allocated from Centrally assisted schemes, will be reimbursed to the schools," said a senior education department official.
A separate fund will be set aside through which students will be funded. He said that the government is also seeking clarity on whether the rule should be implemented from Class 1 or from kindergarten.
On the issue of payment of overhead costs charged by schools for special projects, picnics, education tours, annual days, which goes into thousands in plush schools, the government plans to first read the apex court order before taking a decision on the further rules to be framed.
This process, he added, may take some time, due to which the act is unlikely to be implemented from the current academic year.