Private schools’ committee requests Delhi govt to release pending EWS reimbursement of 105 schools
The committee said that the payment of as many as 105 private schools is pending for the academic year 2018-19 and 2019-20. The range of pending reimbursement varies between ₹8,00,000 and ₹35,00,000, the committee has estimated.Updated: Jun 15, 2020 23:23 IST
A committee representing around 400 private schools in the national capital on Monday wrote to Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia requesting the release of pending reimbursements for the expenses they incurred for students enrolled with them under the economically weaker section (EWS) and disadvantaged groups (DG) categories.
The committee said that the payment of as many as 105 private schools is pending for the academic year 2018-19 and 2019-20. The range of pending reimbursement varies between ₹8,00,000 and ₹35,00,000, the committee has estimated.
The committee also stated that some of these schools have not received reimbursements since the academic session 2014-2015.
According to the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, 25% of seats in entry-level classes —Nursery, KG and Class 1— are to be reserved for children from EWS/DG families. The Delhi RTE rules specify that students enrolled under the EWS/DG categories in private schools are entitled to free textbooks, writing material and uniforms, for which the government reimburses a fixed amount.
In a letter addressed to Sisodia, the president of the action committee of unaided recognised private schools SK Bhattacharya wrote that several schools were going through a financial crisis amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “The fee collection has consistently diminished throughout the months of March, April, May and June 2020, leaving the schools struggling to honour their financial obligations. As a result of this, the school fee falls short of meeting the monthly outflow on salaries,” he wrote in the letter.
HT had, on June 10, reported that nine of 10 parents did not pay their children’s fees in April in around 48% of 170 private schools in Delhi due to the economic slowdown triggered by the Covid-19 lockdown. The proportion worsened in May—to 64% of the schools.
The committee said that many private schools built on government as well as private land have been waiting for the release of outstanding dues towards EWS/DG students. “The majority of the schools built on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land are awaiting the release of outstanding dues towards EWS/DG students. The said dues are pending from the academic session 2014-2015 onwards”
“Many schools on private land are also waiting for the EWS reimbursement for the sessions 2018-19 and 2019-20. That an immediate release of payments from the Directorate of Education (DoE) at this time will ease the burden for many schools, who would be unable to make salary payments for the month of May 2020,” the letter read.
Binay Bhushan, the director of the DoE, said that the government has released the reimbursement amount for a majority of the private schools. “There could be a delay in the payment of last year’s reimbursement in case of some schools because all the deputy directors got busy with Covid-19 related work in March. We will look into this and direct the deputy directors to release the money at the earliest,” he said.
A senior official from Sisodia’s office said, “Many schools do not submit the complete documents and bills on time and that’s why there is a backlog. The DoE always tries to release the funds on time. The government will look into the request received on Monday.”
While the majority of the principals refused to comment on the matter, some said that they will not be able to pay salaries to their employees for the month of May. “We have not received even 10% of the students’ fee in April and May. If we get the pending reimbursement now it will help us pay the salaries of our employees,” said the principal of a private school in east Delhi on the condition of anonymity.