In its reply to the questions of Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha pertaining to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the UT education department has recently said that there’s an increase in the number of students in private schools deriving benefit from the reservation earmarked for those hailing from economically weaker section (EWS).
The parliament had asked several questions to the UT education department through the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) with regard to various questions pertaining to the EWS reservation, unrecognised schools among other things.
The education department sent out its response to a Lok Sabha question by the end of November, followed by another Rajya Sabha question on December 3, both of which pertained to the amendment of the RTE Act.
Sources say though the EWS enrollment is being mulled over as it isn’t proving to be that effective, the education department, responding to a question on the number of students benefitted from the reservation earmarked for the children belonging to disadvantageous group in private schools under the RTE, stated that the data of the last five years suggested a surge in the number of beneficiaries (see box).
Moving on, responding to a question on ‘whether the government was considering amendments in the Right to Education Act, the department cited ‘it is not applicable here as Chandigarh is a non-legislative Union Territory.’ Importantly, UT also stated that seven schools had been issued notice under Section 15.6 of RTE rules 2010 with the copy to estate office to shut down the institutions as per the RTE Act 2009, in response to another question.
EWS enrolment area of concern, says
Talking to HT, education secretary Sarvjit Singh said, “Though the RTE Act provides an opportunity to the children from economically weaker families to study at private schools but it’s not hard to imagine that exposing the children from the families, who are barely able to feed themselves, to an environment where children from well off families commute in expensive cars, gives rise to psychological issues. Singh said that the no-detention policy had already been done away with.
Another official, seeking anonymity, said the reimbursement for the per child expenditure for seats under economically weaker section (EWS) quota needs to be looked into. “The Act hasn’t elaborated enough in terms of how and what kind of reimbursement needs to be made to schools admitting EWS children free of cost,”added the official.