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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Private schools, union territory head for confrontation

Eileen Singh, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, March 23, 2013
First Published: 10:46 IST(23/3/2013) | Last Updated: 14:40 IST(23/3/2013)

In a move that directly brings private schools in confrontation with Chandigarh administration on the issue of giving admissions to students belonging to the economically weaker sections, 33 such institutions in the City Beautiful on Friday unanimously decided to not make any admission under the category.

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On the other hand, the officials of the UT administration seemed unwilling to react to the development. DPI Upkar Singh and DEO Ram Kumar could not be contacted for comments on the development despite numerous attempts.

These schools, rallying under the aegis of Independent Schools Association led by HS Mamik, however are yet to take a decision on the EWS seats still lying vacant though they were, in all likelihood, to be converted into general category.

The private schools have been contending that they would accommodate EWS children, but only if the UT administration reimbursed the expenses incurred by these educational institutions under the Right to Education Act. Under the Act, schools teaching underprivileged children would be reimbursed the expenses.

However, since the administration is still to take a call on the matter, no student from the EWS has been taken on board by these schools. The UT education department has been maintaining that a notification on the expenditure per child would be issued soon though nothing has been achieved on this front till date.

On the other hand, these private institutions lamented that they had not received reimbursements for the last two years.

Moreover, school representatives argued, even the terms and conditions of admissions under EWS category were not clarified. “Everyone says that private schools are not taking EWS students, but what about UT's government schools? Neither is the government reimbursing us nor are they talking or making the terms clear. We private schools are at loss and fail to understand what the administration wants,” remarked HS Mamik.

After human resource development ministry submitted an affidavit in Delhi high court regarding nursery admissions in private unaided schools in the national capital, clarifying that the RTE Act did not apply to nursery classes but from class 1 onwards, it is abundantly clear that the UT private schools are in no mood to let go of the opportunity to assert their stand on the contentious matter.

These schools had earlier put admissions under EWS category on hold, putting the fate of EWS students in the hands of government schools in Chandigarh.

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