Express news service : Chandigarh, Sat Mar 23 2013, 03:37 hrs
Four days after the UT Education Department said more than 400 seats under the EWS category in the entry-level classes were vacant in 48 private schools — over 336 seats in 35 private educational institutes and more than 54 in 13 minority schools — the city-based 35 unaided private schools on Friday declared that that they did not have "any vacancies" under the EWS quota, and said they won't admit any student unless and until the department clarified a few norms regarding the implementation of the RTE Act.
This, when 60 applications pertaining to admission under the EWS quota in private schools were received at the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, on Friday.
The decision of private schools came after the Independent Schools Association (ISA) held its general body meeting at Vivek High School, Sector 38.
The schools said if the UT Administration wanted them to implement 25 per cent EWS quota under the RTE Act for pre-nursery and nursery classes then it should ask the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development to issue a separate notification in this regard. Also, the administration should give in writing that they would reimburse the expenditure incurred on the EWS students by the private schools.
Furthermore, the schools also said the education department should clarify whether they have to implement 15 per cent EWS quota as per their 2005 notification or 25 per cent as mentioned by the RTE Act.
As per the UT Administration 2005 notification, private schools can charge a nominal fee from EWS students, preferably the same as is charged from the students of government students.
The ISA also referred to the Delhi High Court judgment, dated February 19, which read that "it is the right time for the Government to consider the applicability of Right to Education Act to the nursery as well.... Hence, we only observe that to avail the benefit of the Right to Education Act to child seeking (admission) for nursery school as well, necessary amendment should be considered by the State".
ISA president H S Mamik said, "The UT Education Department is asking us to imsplement the Act, but they failed to reimburse an amount of over Rs 84 lakh incurred by us on EWS students in the last two years. We are filing a case against them in the Punjab and Haryana High Court shortly."
"Let the EWS families submit applications, we are not admitting any of them," he added.
When contacted, Director Public Instructions (Schools) Upkar Singh said, "Our endeavour is to implement RTE Act in letter and spirit. We have to give equitable justice to all our stakeholders."
However, slamming the Education Department, Sangita Vardhan of Vatsal Chaya, an NGO, said she failed to understand how the authorities could pressure the private schools to fill the EWS seats when they failed to admit students to government schools.