9,500 seats reserved for poor students vacant, DoE invites applicants
Seven months into the 2019-’20 academic session, over 9,500 seats reserved for children from economically weaker section (EWS) and disadvantaged groups (DG) in private schools across the city are still vacant. Taking cognizance of the situation, the Directorate of Education (DoE) has now invited applications for the 10th and the last round of admissions to fill these seats.
Under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, 25% of seats in entry-level classes — nursery, Kindergarten (KG) and I — in all private schools are to be reserved for the EWS category. This year, the DoE had invited applications for 45,000 seats across 1,700 private schools in Delhi.
As per the official data, over 21% of these seats are vacant.
Explaining the reason behind the vacancies, DoE officials said that majority of the vacancies are in the less popular schools or those located in the outer areas of Delhi. “There are around 100 schools where parents have not even applied and hence these vacancies are still there,” the official said.
The DoE says the number of vacant seats this year is far lower than previous years.
“We have filled around 35,500 seats as of now. There are around 421 pending cases and we have asked the officials in each district to check the status of these cases. We have not received applications against 2,800 of these vacant seats. The situation this year is much better than previous years,” said Yogesh Pratap, director of education private school branch.
Last year, around 12,000 EWS/DG seats had gone vacant of the available 48,000 seats.DoE officials said that this year some schools reported drop in number of seats in KG and class 1 and hence the number of seats was 45,000.
For the 10th round of admission, the online application will be available till November 11 and the draw of computerised lot will tentatively be released on November 15. “This will be the last round of admission because we cannot admit anyone in these classes post December 31. The admission process for the EWS/DG seats for the next session will begin in January first week. The vacant seats will be carried forward next year,” said a DoE official, requesting anonymity.
Delhi Education minister Manish Sisodia had in March asked the DoE to prepare a list of “unpopular schools” where parents are not willing to apply and admit their children under EWS/DG category. The list was to be submitted with the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR).
DCPCR member Anurag Kundu said the department has received the list and analysing the data. “We are figuring out what can be the reasons behind the seats in these schools going vacant,” he said. The DCPCR had last year listed the names of 74 such schools where not a single admission took place under the EWS/DG category in the academic sessions 2017-18 and 2016-17.
Ekramul Haque of NGO Mission Taleem said that the government should convert the vacant seats for Children With Special Needs (CWSN) in famous private schools into EWS/DG seats. “Every year thousands of seats reserved for CWSN students are going vacant because of lack of applications. It’s better the government should give admission on these seats to poor kids in good private schools,” he said. HT had earlier reported that as many as 5,000 seats reserved for disabled kids are vacant this academic session due to the lack of applications.