Monday, March 11, 2013

Army Opposes Reservations Under RTE Act in Its Schools










The Army is opposing implementation of 25 per cent reservation for children of weaker and disadvantaged groups in its around 150 schools under the Right to Education Act, saying it will hamper the educational prospects of wards of its own personnel.

A letter in this regard has been sent to the Defence Ministry by the Army Headquarters, Army sources told PTI here.

The 1.3 million-strong force runs around 150 schools across the cantonments in the country.

The stand in this regard was taken some time back and the government has been apprised about the reasons behind it, they said.

This position has been taken in view of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which makes it compulsory for every private unaided school to admit at least 25 per cent in its entry level class children belonging to weaker and disadvantaged groups.

Explaining the reasons for opposing the provision of reservation, Army sources said this would deprive "our own wards of quality education in our schools".

"Already, there is a lot of pressure on our schools and giving away 25 per cent seats to civilian children will deprive an equal number of wards of Army personnel of good education," they said.

As per a Supreme Court ruling, Army personnel are deemed to be disadvantaged group with regard to education of their children, the sources said.

Lack of proper educational facilities for their children is also considered to be one of the main reasons behind the increasing stress levels among Army personnel, they said.

In view of these considerations, a Parliamentary Standing Committee has recommended opening of additional schools for wards of Army personnel as due to their frequent postings, each child generally has school education in at least 5-6 institutions.

The Army runs these schools from its own welfare funds and doesn't use any kind of public money for doing so, the sources said.

The force is subsidising the education in these schools from its own welfare funds and they are run on a no-profit no-loss basis, they said.

On the issue of using Defence Ministry land for building these schools, the sources said the provision of schools on these plots is as per the Key Location Plan (KLP) or the Army Modernisation Works Plan (AMWP).

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