Educating the underprivileged

Educating the underprivileged

In a rather predictable move prior to the general elections in 2014, the Delhi government is set to propose additional 15 per cent reservation for children from poor families in most private schools in the City.

Although not cleared by the chief minister, the proposal will be presented before the High Court once it gets the nod. The quota will be applicable for admissions in classes II to XII.
The reservation, if passed by the court, will affect 394 private recognised schools in the capital that have been allotted land at concessional rates by government agencies.
Earlier this year too, there were issues raised by private schools over the 25 per cent EWS (economically weaker section) reservation which allowed free education to these ‘non-fee’ paying children.

Metrolife spoke to few school principals on the proposal. In a rather diplomatic stance, A P Sharma, principal of Apeejay School, Sheikh Sarai, says, “We will welcome every decision by the government if taken ‘judiciously’ in the benefit of private schools and underprivileged children.”

However, in 2011, a new set of rules came to the forefront with the Right to Education Act (RTE). According to them, RTE covers a quota only at the ‘entry level’, i.e. from nursery to class I. But this new quota will the rest of the classes, i.e. II-XII.

Another principal Dr D R Saini of Delhi Public School, R K Puram welcomed this new development. “We have followed the government direction previously as well when they made it mandatory to have 25 per cent quota for EWS children. Rather, this is a very good step for the development of the society. And moreover, do we have any option of not following government decisions?”

On the other hand, NGOs are unhappy with this decision. They claim 15 per cent is too less. “If you really want to uplift the society, make provisions which will directly benefit the society and its people. You know these schools are profit-making bodies. If they take more underprivileged children in their schools, then it will affect their income because then that percentage of children will not pay the fees. The schools no more work for the development of the children but are only business minded,” says, Mohammad Asif Hasan, member of programme review and management team, Pratham Education Foundation, which works to provide quality education to the underprivileged children of India.

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