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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

For kids from care homes, merit alone won’t get them to DU

Several others from child care homes, are realising that merit alone was not enough to land them the college of their choice. The girl is unable to apply under the newly introduced economically weaker section (EWS) category as she does not have a family income certificate — a requisite for all applicants in this category.

education Updated: Jul 16, 2019 07:45 IST
Vatsala Shrangi
Vatsala Shrangi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)
         

For this 18-year-old girl student (her name has been withheld to protect her identity), an inmate of a child care home in the national capital, even scoring 91% in her class 12 exams was not enough to fulfil her dream of studying journalism at Delhi University.

She, like several others from child care homes, are realising that merit alone was not enough to land them the college of their choice. The girl is unable to apply under the newly introduced economically weaker section (EWS) category as she does not have a family income certificate — a requisite for all applicants in this category.

At least 13 other inmates from different government recognised child care institutions (CCIs) in the city who have passed class 12 exams with a score of 70% and above have written to the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) , as they have not been able to secure admissions in DU colleges for want of certain documents that, given their situations, they are unable to procure.

The EWS quota was introduced by the university this year and it offers a slight relaxation in the eligibility criteria as compared to general category students. Even as DU is struggling to fill up seats under the quota, quite a number of eligible students are left out for not being able to produce certain requisite documents.

The 18-year-old girl with 91% marks was abandoned by her stepmother and was later tortured by relatives before she reached the child care home run by Udayan Care, an NGO, in 2013.

“I had applied to DU’s Maharaja Agrasen College under the EWS category. I was told to produce an income certificate by July 20, failing which my admission will be cancelled. I have been doing the rounds of the district magistrate’s office as well as the department of women and child development (WCD), but they said, in my case, as I do not have parents or guardians to show income, they could not issue the certificate,” she said.

“I wanted to become a journalist. But now, I have no option but to wait for the fourth or fifth cut-off list to get an admission in another college or course, these colleges are located far away. Since I have turned 18, I will have to shift to a home for adults in Greater Noida and it will be difficult to commute to distant colleges,” she said.

Sunil Sondhi, principal of Maharaja Agrasen College, said he was unaware about the case. “If the student is an orphan, she should be considered under the EWS category. We will try to find a way to help her,” he said.

Similarly, another student from a children’s home in Dwarka, who has scored 95.4%, had to compromise on the course she wanted for want of supporting documents under the EWS category.

“I wanted to pursue political science (Honours) but I could not meet the eligibility criteria and I did not have documents required under the EWS category. I have now got an admission for Sociology at Miranda House,” she said. Her mother works as a domestic help and her stepfather is a fruit-seller.

According to Kiran Modi, founder and managing trustee of Udayan Care, these students are bright enough to score above 90% despite coming from tough backgrounds and they must get the benefit of the EWS category.

“If only she had an EWS certificate, she could have gotten into a good college of her choice. We have to get donors to fund their education. In private universities, the fee is higher. DU must facilitate these students on the lines of what the Maharashtra government does — the state has issued a circular to colleges to admit such students without asking for income certificates,” Modi said.

Kailash Gahlot, Delhi revenue minister, said, “The issue has been brought to my notice and I am looking into it. If any such complaint is found, it will be resolved immediately.”

As per DU information bulletin, the fee for EWS category students is the same as that for unreserved, OBC, and minority category students.

A member of the admission committee, on condition of anonymity, said the university so far, has no clarity on the issue. “The governing body of colleges will decide upon the fee for all categories in colleges. The university does not take a call on it,” the official said.

DCPCR chairperson Ramesh Negi said students from child care homes must be exempted from providing income proof and other such certificates.

“We will be writing to secretary (higher education, technical education) and other autonomous institutions to not insist on certificates under the EWS category, as there is no question of an income in cases such as these, when children are living in care homes. In most cases, either the parents are not alive or are not in a condition to support their children.”