A nearly 62% jump has been recorded in the number of poor children admitted in private schools under the 25% quota for economically weaker sections. The quantum jump has occurred from the academic year 2014-15.
According to the school enrolment statistics with the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, 29,25,303 children were enrolled in elementary classes in private schools under the EWS quota in 2016-17.
The number of such students enrolled in private schools was a mere 18,10,370 in 2014-15 and 24,22,423 in 2015-16.
Official sources in the HRD Ministry credited the rise from 2014-15 to "close monitoring" of the implementation of the EWS quota in private schools "both at the level of the Centre and the States."
"An increased awareness among the people about the EWS quota under the Right to Education (RTE) Act may also be seen as one of the reasons behind the rise in the enrolment of EWS category children," they added.
The RTE Act, 2009 provides for reservation of 25% seats at all elementary schools for admission of children belonging to EWS category.
However, there have been several reports of private schools denying admission to EWS category students, ever since the RTE Act came into effect from April 1, 2010.
According to data with the Ministry, Karnataka, Bihar, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are among the states which have witnessed a significant rise in the number of EWS category students enrolled in private schools.
Uttar Pradesh has witnessed the highest increase in the enrolment of such children in private schools. From just 108 students enrolled under EWS quota in 2014-15, the number of such students in private schools jumped to 21,598 in 2016-17.
The enrolment of EWS category children at private schools in Karnataka almost doubled in 2016-17 compared to 2014-15. A total of 4,14,106 children were admitted in 2016-17, up from 2,17,306 in 2014-15.
In 2015-16, Karnataka saw a total of 3,16,115 students getting admission in private schools under EWS category.