NEW DELHI | 18th Dec 2011
number of Delhi-based government-aided private schools, including Sanskriti, Delhi Police Public School and Jindal International School, have not provided any information to the Delhi government about the number of children they have admitted under the Economically Weaker Sections quota in the current year. Or they have provided the information considerably late.
Delhi government's Department of Education is mandated to maintain a list of all government aided private schools, along with data on the fulfilment of the EWS quota, on its website, as per a notification issued by the Delhi government. The Right to Education Act stipulates that all government aided private schools should admit 25% children under the EWS quota every year at the entry level.
In the case of Sanskriti, which is run by the wives of Central civil servants, the DoE released the list of children admitted under the EWS quota after a gap of almost six months. The last date for schools to provide the information was 30 July. This development comes after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Central Information Commission intervened in the matter.
Following a complaint by a city-based RTE activist, Ritu Mehra, the Central Information Commission took note that the schools had not provided the information despite the Delhi government directive ordering the Directorate of Education to collect and publish the data. The schools contested the CIC's order in the Delhi High Court. The court upheld the CIC's order.
In spite of this, Sanskriti did not provide the required information. So the NCPCR had to intervene and ask the school to comply with the order.
A source in the principal's office at Sanskriti said, "We had sent the information to the Directorate of Education. However, complete information could not be sent because of a technical error on our side about which we were not aware. After we got the Commission's letter, we sent the full information again."
The authorities of the Delhi Police Public School and Jindal International School could not be contacted despite several attempts.
RTE activist Ritu Mehra said that she was surprised that many of the children admitted in Sanskriti under the EWS quota came from far-off places. The school is situated in Chankyapuri. "Under the EWS quota it has admitted students who live in Gurgaon, Patel Nagar, IP Extension, Janakpuri and Palam Vihar. It will cost these students at least Rs 1,500 a month on conveyance. I wonder how they can come under the EWS quota," said Mehra.
Some schools contested that they could not fulfil the quota for the current year because of lack of students.
Raj Kamal, the head of administration at Green Valley International School, said that they were not approached by anyone seeking admission under the quota: "We are ready to give admission under the EWS quota. But we received no applications in this regard. How can we admit children in such a circumstance?"
Some other schools claimed that they had sent the data to the Department of Education, but the latter failed to upload the same on its website. Parvati Ramachandran, the head of administration at Florence Public School, said, "We have fulfilled our quota and sent the list to DoE."
Mehra said that the schools employ delaying tactics in order to hide the fact that they have not fulfilled the quota. "It is easy to say that they have fulfilled the quota when they might not have done so. They also wilfully delay sending the information so that it is not uploaded on time," said Mehra.