Despite the state government repeatedly talking about the education sector as its priority, the economically weak sections (EWS) of the society are still to get 25% quota in all private schools as per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
Six years have passed since the RTE was enacted and around four years after it was notified in Himachal, but the provisions are yet to be implemented in a full spirit in the state. A cabinet note in this regard was also prepared by the education department for a meeting that was held in Dharamsala in February, but was not discussed due to unknown reason.
Last year, there was an exercise to frame rules under the RTE, but the government failed to implement 25% quota for the economically weaker section in all private schools of the state. Going by the government record, there are over 18,000 schools across Himachal, of which over 2,500 are private ones. According to the RTE norms, there should be over 18, 882 seats reserved for the EWS children across the state. However, the Supreme Court, in April 2012, had ordered that RTE Act would be applicable only for day schools and not in private minority schools.
The state government, in 2011, had issued a notification in this regard (RTE), but the process of framing rules was still underway. A source, on condition of anonymity, said that the government was mulling on framing fixed rules for reimbursement to private schools. He said, "As per the RTE norms, private schools will reimburse the amount of tuition fee incurred on admitting children belonging to weaker section. As per rough estimates, the reimbursement will be over 20 crore annually, which will increase yearly." He also said that the children from EWS would not be provided mid-day meal in private schools.
Meanwhile, most of the states have implemented the scheme and Delhi has performed fairly well by admitting about 33,000 EWS children as against reserved 35,000 seats, while neighbouring Uttarakhand has 27,579 seats reserved, of which 20,491 has been filled.
Difficulties being faced
Already adequate schools in government sector
Yearly decreasing number in government schools
No mid day meal in private schools
District Government's schools Private unaided
BILASPUR 843 183
CHAMBA 1611 126
HAMIRPUR 765 221
KANGRA 2522 608
KINNAUR 268 42
KULLU 1004 172
LAHUL & SPITI 273 8
MANDI 2461 373
SHIMLA 2304 360
SIRMAUR 1414 158
SOLAN 1076 211
UNA 758 150
Total 15299 2612