Chandigarh education dept to meet all schools on mandatory EWS admissions
As per Chandigarh director school education Harsuhinderpal Singh Brar, the meeting is being called to reiterate that all schools fall under the purview of the Right to Education Act
The UT education department is set to hold a meeting with representatives of all private schools regarding EWS admissions for the 2024-25 session, mandatory under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
As per UT director school education Harsuhinderpal Singh Brar, the meeting is being called to reiterate that all schools fall under the purview of RTE Act and there will be no beating around the bush when it comes to EWS admissions for the next academic session.
As per sources, all schools, save 10, have already submitted information related to EWS admissions with the UT education department and will be on board for the centralised admissions. Authorities, however, didn’t clarify if it’s the same 10 schools that didn’t participate in the centralised process last year as well.
The schedule for general admissions has already been released, but that for EWS admissions is likely to be delayed, as the matter has been taken up by the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The high court has directed Chandigarh schools to produce audited accounts, showing the collection of fee on various accounts during one academic year, especially from students aged between six and 14. Schools also have to submit number of students admitted under EWS category in the last five years. December 7 is the next date of hearing.
The HC directions came on the plea filed by the Independent Schools’ Association (ISA), a body of city’s private schools, challenging UT’s instructions issued from time to time, making it mandatory for them to admit students under the EWS category.
ISA president HS Mamik said private schools were only being reimbursed for 10% of EWS seats instead of 15%, which was hampering the functioning of private schools.
Action against last year’s violators pending
The education department is still mulling over the action to be taken against the schools that didn’t participate in the centralised EWS admissions held for the 2023-24 session.
As per officials, out of 20 minority schools in the city, eight had not participated in the draw of lots. The department has given personal hearings to the schools, and is also holding meetings to get their point of view and reach a middle ground, as some of these minority schools are giving admissions to students from minority communities and in some cases, the number is higher than that mandated under the RTE Act.
In May 2023, the department had revoked the recognition of St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, for not admitting 23 students from EWS category who were allotted the school during the centralised draw of lots.
While the matter is in court, as per sources, the department had organised a meeting with all schools regarding the 2024-25 admissions, but St Kabir wasn’t invited. Vivek High School is another non-minority school that didn’t participate in this. However, no action has been taken against it as of now.
Free EWS education mandatory under UT’s land allotment scheme
In 2012, the Supreme Court had ruled that schools with minority status were not obligated to reserve 25% seats for the EWS category under the RTE Act, which was followed by a spurt in cases of schools seeking minority status.
As per UT administration’s submissions in high court previously, educational institutes in the city were allotted land on leasehold basis under a 1996 scheme, according to which they were required to admit 5% students as part of social responsibility from EWS category without charging any dues. The 5% limit was enhanced to 15% in 2005, and covered all schools that got land prior to this policy or after the notification of the policy.
In view of this, minority status schools are not entitled to any reimbursement, while the non-minority schools will be reimbursed for only 10% EWS students, UT has maintained.
It has also challenged the minority status of five schools in high court, which is at various stages of adjudication.