UT director school education, Rubinderjit Singh Brar, on Friday, issued a notice to Stepping Stones School, Sector 38, stating that it will be de-recognised if it ‘immediately’ failed to refund Rs 1,000 it charged a pre-nursery student seeking admission under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category in May this year.
Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, schools cannot charge any money from EWS students — who have a quota of 25% in private schools in the city. The UT administration reimburses the cost to the schools.
Honey Singh, a resident of Sector 40, had submitted a complaint to UT education department on May 10. District Education Officer (DEO) Vinay Sood had then written to the school principal asking for comments.
Stepping Stones School principal Anu Kumar submitted that money was being taken from students, including the EWS, on a voluntary basis. She added that the school had also issued a circular in this regard on March 30 (a copy of which is also on the school website).
Claiming that it was a ‘marginal school with scant resources’, the circular reads that these refundable donations were a great source of support until ‘reimbursement is received’
She added, “The Right to Education (RTE) is a wonderful attempt by our government to provide education to the underprivileged. The cost of the education was to be borne by the administration to avoid overburdening the general category students. The reimbursement has been slow in coming.”
School manager Narender Kumar said, “We have taken money only from those parents who were willing. This is also refundable once we are reimbursed. We have put up the same information on our website as well.”
The DSE said, “Taking money, under whatever pretext, from EWS students is a violation of the RTE Act. Hence, we have written to the school to immediately refund the amount charged. If this is not done, the school will be de-recognised.
Sources said that if the schools fails to refund and to the department by August 5, it will be de-recognised. They added that the school could also be in for other forms of punitive action.