Parents cry foul after school asks EWS students to pay fees
A group of parents from the economically weaker section (EWS) claimed that a private school in south Delhi, where their children study, had asked them to pay fees from April next year as the institute cannot extend free education to the children.
Parents said that St George’s School in Alaknanda issued them a circular last week informing about the decision of the school, after which they held a protest on Wednesday and also submitted a letter to the Directorate of Education (DoE).
The circular said, “minority schools are exempted from giving free education to students by the government. Last two years, we were informing you about this. Now the school cannot extend the free education to your child due to this rising cost of expenditure in school. You have to pay fees for your ward in the next academic year 2018-2019 starting from April 2018.”
Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which was implemented in Delhi in 2011, all private schools were asked to admit students from EWS background on 25% of their seats. But a Supreme Court judgment exempted minority institutes from the ambit of the RTE in 2014.
“I am illiterate so I could not read the circular and asked one of my neighbours to read it. I am a driver and I cannot afford to pay so much fees. I will have to withdraw my child if the school insists that I pay the fees. We have written a letter to the DoE,” said the father of the child.
Atishi Marlena, advisor to education minister Manish Sisodia, said the DoE will on Thursday issue directions to the school that they can neither charge fee from EWS children nor can they ask them to leave the school.
“The children were admitted between 2011 and 2014 before the SC order exempted minority schools from following RTE. Those admitted before will have to be given free education as per RTE,” she said.
St George’s School principal Sara George maintained that none of the students will be asked to leave the school and students who are under EWS category will continue to get free education till Class 12.
“The circular was only a way to communicate with the parents so that they come to me and I can ask them to submit their latest income certificates. I want to cross check their income certificates so that only those who are actually under EWS get benefit of free education,” she said.
She said that she will meet the parents personally and resolve the issue.