Only 2.5% of the 2,000-odd seats reserved in reputed private unaided schools of Ahmedabad district for students from EWS (Economically Weaker Sections) families were occupied at the end of the admission process for this year,as opposed to the 25% target.
The scheme,being implemented three years after it was first notified under the Right To Education,saw only 49 students getting admission to 15 schools. It gives preference to children with parents whose annual income is between Rs 27,000 for rural areas and Rs 36,000 for urban areas. The next category considered under the EWS are those with an annual income of less than Rs 2 lakh.
Of the 1,200 private,primary schools in Ahmedabad,a total of 200 reputed schools of English,Gujarati and Hindi medium were shortlisted in the city area,while 123 unaided schools were finalised in the district area. With each school asked to admit a maximum of ten students,323 schools were expected to admit a maximum of 2000 children from the EWS.
Despite the deadline being extended by a month till July 29,the reserved seats remained vacant.
The major reason for this poor response was lack of awareness. Though we had advertised in three local newspapers,even we realise the limitation of creating awareness among the beneficiaries. We have already decided to create an aggressive mass awareness campaign next year, said R I Patel,District Education Officer (DEO).
The education department said it expected a minimum of 5000 applications from Ahmedabad.
The department had planned to select 2000 deserving students on the basis of the familys annual income from the 5000 applicants. Unfortunately,only 49 applications were received and all were admitted to the school they requested for, said Patel.
According to department officials and some parents,since the scheme was valid for students only in Class I,many applicants feared the child would be unable to cope with the studies of a private school. Next year,the scheme will not remain limited to Class I and be open for entry in Nursery or KG too.
Being the first year of its implementation,the private schools were not given complete autonomy over the selection and admission process. The process of selection of areas,schools,distribution of seats,selection of applications and admission was done by the DEO.