Pvt schools protest 25% seats quota under RTE

The Times of India
News Dated: 

CHANDIGARH: Days after Haryana's BJP government hinted at a hike in the seat quote for economically weaker sections (EWS) students to 25% from 10% earlier, the private schools owners have launched statewide agitation. The Federation of Private Schools Welfare Association has given a strike call in Panipat district schools on October 15 and in Panchkula on October 31.

Recently, the state education minister Ram Bilas Sharma had said that there was already a provision for reservation of 25% seats for students of Class 1 belonging to EWS in all private schools. Sharma also said the state would also urge the Union ministry of human resource development for release of grant-in-aid for reimbursement of financial assistance to be given to private schools for admission on 25% seats under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009. The state has also offered reimbursement ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 400 per child monthly for meritorious students in recognized schools under the Haryana School Education Rules.

However, private schools association is not impressed with the provision of minor reimbursement especially when the state spends Rs 28,000 on each of students studying in government schools. They have demanded an education voucher of minimum Rs 1,500 per student. The federation has also suggested that the government directly funds the students as there many conditions for the schools to get reimbursement.

Federation president Kulbhushan Sharma said that the state government doesn't reimburse the fee of EWS students under RTE even as the schools are reimbursed in neighbouring states like Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. "Other states offer minimum Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,700 per month for each student while Haryana offers just Rs 200 to Rs 400," he added.

Private school owners say that there are around 30 lakh students in 15,000 private schools in the state where around two lakh teachers are employed. "Almost equal number of students is enrolled in government schools," said Kulbhushan. A social activist Satvir Singh Hooda, who has fought for the EWS student under the banner of an organization 'Do Jama Paanch Mudde Jan Andolan', the private schools should admit the poor students as part of their social responsibility.