Even after four years of implementation of Right to Education (RTE) Act, the state has failed to provide 25% reservation to poor students in private schools.
However, the exercise to notify rules to ensure admission of children belonging to economically weaker sections (EWS) in entry class had started a year back. As per the RTE norms, 25% seats in private schools should be reserved for poor children; but state has not even framed rules to implement the Act strictly.
As per the government record, there are over 17,000 schools across the state, of which over 2,500 are in the private sector. Going by the RTE norms, there should be 18, 882 seats reserved for EWS children across the state.
The government had issued a notification in this regard in 2013, but the process of framing rules was still underway. Sources told HT that the government was mulling on framing fixed rules for reimbursement to private schools. As per the RTE norms, private schools would be reimbursed the amount of tuition fee incurred on admitting children belonging weaker section. A senior bureaucrat said the government was apprehensive about the expenditure on reimbursement to private schools.
The rules underway for implementation of this Act have more stress on the reimbursement part. Some of schools may accept it, but those running in huge profit may have some issues as the government will not pay funds other than the tuition fee.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) project director Ghanshyam Chand said the matter was under consideration and the government would take the final call at the right time. “We are serious about this issue and the government is contemplating about certain points,” Ghanshyam Chand said.
There was growing feeling amongst a section of the society that some of private schools wanted to keep 'poor' children away just to appease the 'elite' class. Himachal Gyan Vigyan Samiti (HGVS) representative Satyawan Pundir said RTE was implemented to remove discrimination in education with an aim “Education for all”.
"The lackadaisical attitude of the government is hampering the real purpose of the Act,” he said, adding that the government should not succumb to any pressure in this issue.
Most of states have implemented the scheme and Delhi has performed fairly well by admitting nearly 33,000 EWS children against reserved 35,000 seats, while neighbouring Uttarakhand has 27,579 seats reserved, of which 20,491 has been filled.