Private schools in the city have affirmed they will set aside 25% seats for children from disadvantaged sections, leaving those outside quota ambit concerned.
The Right to Education (RTE) is one of the more important legislations to have been inked in recent times. On the face of it, the policy promises quality education for children from disadvantaged sections of society.
After the teething troubles last year, in a recently held meeting with representatives of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), several private schools in the Capital affirmed that they will provide 25 per cent of their seats to children from disadvantaged sections of society under RTE. MiD DAY finds out whether after reservation there will be enough number of seats for children from general category.
In the national capital, there are 1352 public-private schools, catering to a large number of primary students. The high court had directed the education department to frame rules for the provision of allocating funds for 25 per cent economically weaker sections (EWS) category in the coming three weeks. Top 25 private schools of the city, including Sanskriti School, Amity International (Mayur Vihar), Delhi Public School (Rohini) and others, unlike last year, when the EWS rule was implemented with difficulty, have assured the commission that they will provide reservation as per RTE. According to a lead assessment survey done by a wing of the education department in 2010, the city is short of about 650 schools to meet the entire need of the populace.
Living on hope
"Last year only 25 per cent schools followed the EWS guideline as the rules regarding the funds for the reservation were not framed. This year, as expected, the funds will be allocated and if more number of schools comply, the number of seats will get balanced," said Ashok Aggarwal, HC lawyer and president of All India Parents Association (AIPA).
Apart from public-private schools, there are 1736 schools under Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), 762 MCD-recognised schools, 44 MCD-aided, 952 under Delhi government and 308 Department of Education (DoE) schools. "As per RTE, the teacher-pupil ratio in a class must be 1:30, which is not yet implemented everywhere. Once this is brought into action, the number of seats for general category will get even lesser and the number of schools needed, will go above 650," said an official from the Department of Education (DoE) on the condition of anonymity. "Till now, we are going by 40 children in each section. But there will be demand for more schools in the city when the 1:30 ratio is followed," said MM Vidyarthi, secretary, DCPCR.
Six to 14-year-olds in India were out-of-school in 2009 according to a survey
Time to Act
Delhi Cabinet last week ratified the city's Right to Education (RTE) campaign, Shiksha ka Haq. The campaign entails laws to implement the Right to Education Act. "The law will be notified in the coming week," city's education minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said. The issue of notifying a Delhi-specific law has been a contentious one, with the high court questioning the state government and NGOs claiming that the delay is hitting the prospects of students. Singh said more schools would be opened across the Capital and about 13,000 teachers will be hired to ensure that no student was left out and everyone got a chance to study. "For kids from classes 1 to 5, a school will be established within a radius of 1km from the residential pockets, while for those from classes 6 to 8, a school shall be set up within a radius of 3km," Singh said.