Schools give the runaround to EWS quota seekers

Schools give the runaround to EWS quota seekers

Parents of children applying for nursery admission in various Delhi schools under the Economically Weaker Section category have said the new nursery guidelines did not bring any relief as they were still being discriminated.

According to guidelines given by the Directorate of Education Delhi, schools were bound to reserve 25 per cent seats for economically weaker students.

Atul Kumar, 35, from Rohini has been trying get his daughter admitted in several schools in Rohini for two years. He works as a driver with a private company and is applying under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota as his annual income is less than Rs 1 lakh.

However, his child had been denied admission by three private schools in Rohini -- St Giri, Mount Carmel and Sachdeva Public schools.

“They asked me to get verified documents stating that I belong to the EWS category in 2010. After verifying all documents, the school authorities said the child could not be admitted because she was younger than the required age despite her being three-plus.
In 2011, they said the child was four-plus and would be eligible for admission next year. This year they haven’t given me the forms saying my child is five-plus and has crossed the age of admission as per the guidelines. But I have taken the form and will submit it again,” said Atul.

Atul was among the several parents who were harassed and denied admission because they belong to the weaker section. Complaints received by Social Jurist -- a civil rights group -- through their nursery helpline number, include issues such as denial of EWS forms by schools, most schools said forms were over, some schools did not accept the centralised forms and many schools have asked for random documents like birth certificate with the name of the child printed on it and municipal corporation of Delhi’s certificate stating that parents did not have pan cards and passports.

“Nearly 85 per cent of the complaints were from the EWS category. It has been observed that most of the schools were either not admitting a single student under the quota, admitting partial number of students or reducing the number of seats at the entry level to avoid admission of students under the EWS category,” said Khagesh Jha, an activist with Social Jurist.

Ashok Agarwal, advocate Delhi High Court, said they had filed a petition in the High Court on December 30 regarding non-compliance of giving admissions to children under the EWS quota to ensure that schools do not violate the rules during 2012 admissions.

“We had mentioned in the petition that the district admission monitoring committee had failed to monitor the admission procedure in the unaided schools and the schools were not complying with the EWS provisions. But there has been no response yet,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Education Department said the situation was better compared with last year.

“This was the first time that we have introduced a common admission form for the economically weaker section to make sure that they did not have any problem seeking admission to the popular schools in the city,” said an official from the department.

However, experts and activists said schools were expected to furnish diluted information and likely to say there were not many takers under the EWS quota. “The schools have been directed by the Directorate of Education to send them details of any seat availability by March 31 under the EWS category to ensure seats do not go waste. But schools will not submit a fair report as most schools have been opposing admission under this quota,” said Shashank Shekhar, member Delhi Protection for Child Rights.

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