Even after three months when 19 private schools were issued show-cause notices for not admitting the requisite number of economically weaker section students as per UT land allotment scheme, only seven of them have submitted written replies to the Estate Office so far. The schools have claimed that they have filled up all the seats reserved for the EWS and the disadvantaged groups.
Among the remaining 12 schools which have not submitted their replies, some say that their schools do not fall under the purview of the UT Administration’s land allotment scheme while some say that it is not possible to go around picking up EWS children at the time of admission in order to fill up the seats.
The Estate Office had sent copies of the representations/replies from each of the seven schools for examination and comments in the matter to the District Education Office (DEO). “You are requested to examine the replies w.r.t provision of reservation of seats for EWS/RTE Act and furnish comments in each case separately for taking further action in the matter,” read the letter forwarded by the Estate Office to the DEO office.
Surprisingly, the education department has also failed to examine the replies of these schools in the past three months, which is why no further action has been initiated yet from the Estate Office.
Assistant estate officer Prince Dhawan said, “It’s been a month when the representatives of the 19 schools had come for hearing, after we had issued show-cause notices to them. In the hearing, we had taken an undertaking from the schools that if the education department sent them EWS students, they will admit them, since they had a common complaint that they do not find EWS students during the admission.”
He added, “We had asked the education department to examine the replies of the schools which claimed that they are a minority and are not bound to admit EWS students but we have received no response from the department, even after sending a reminder recently. Nothing is pending from our side. We can initiate an action only after the department submits the comments on each school.”
Officiating DEO Saroj Mittal, however, said that no such notice from the Estate Office is in her knowledge.
The 19 schools which were considered as defaulters by the education department were Vivek High School, Sector 38; DAV Public School, Sector 8; Shishu Niketan Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 32; Bal Niketan Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37; Stepping Stones School, Sector 38; AKSIPS-41; Shishu Niketan Model School, Sector 43; Banyan Tree School, Sector 48; SD Saini Model School, Sector 38; Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Sector 40; Aanchal International School, Sector 41; AKSIPS-45; Ashiana Public School, Sector 46; Nav Bal Niketan School, Sector 29; Kundan International School, Sector 46; Play Way Model School, Sector 37; Kids-R-Kids, Sector 42; Ankur Public School, PU Campus, Sector 14; and St Kabir Public School, Sector 26.
However, the schools which have already submitted their replies are Ashiana Public School; Play Way Model (Smart), Sector 37; Shishu Niketan Public School, Sector 43; Nav Bal Niketan Model School, Sector 29; DAV Public School, Sector 8; Kids-r-Kids, Sector 42; and Kundan Lal International School, Sector 46.
St Kabir Public School and Vivek High School are the only schools where not even a single seat has been reserved for the EWS students.
Chairperson of Vivek High School H S Mamik and administrator of St Kabir Public School Gurpreet Bakshi say that they were given the land on the market price and not at the concessional rates, due to which they are not bound to admit any child as per the land allotment scheme.
“Our land allotment letter does not say anywhere that we were given land on concessional rates and we would have to admit certain percentage of EWS children free of cost. Secondly, we are a minority school. Thus we admit students at the entry level of our own free will,” said Bakshi.
Another school to claim that the clause of admitting 15 per cent EWS children was never mentioned or incorporated in their land allotment letter is Ajit Karam Singh International Public School (AKSIPS), Sector 45. Jagjit Sekhon, principal of the school, said, “Despite the fact that we are a minority and do not come under the purview of land allotment scheme, we have been admitting EWS children every year. Also, we have not received any notice from the Estate Office or the education department.”
Officials of the UT Education Department said that the possible action which could be taken by the Estate Office against schools not adhering to the land allotment scheme is to cancel their allotment.
Principal of Stepping Stones Senior Secondary School, Sector 38, Anu Kumar has claimed that of the total 80 seats available at the entry level, the school has given 20 seats for the EWS students under the land allotment scheme, which is more than the requisite number.
“We have rather filled up more seats as 15 per cent of our total seats comes out to be only 12 but we have reserved 20 seats, and we have already submitted the details to the department. Unlike other schools, we not only admit EWS students at the entry level but also in senior classes as well and also give discounts to the needy students,” Kumar added.
Amita Khurana, principal of Shishu Niketan School, also claimed that all of the nursery seats had already been filled in her school and the details had been submitted to the department. As per the education department’s figures, of 16 reserved seats for EWS, Shishu Niketan had only one EWS student last year.
Though Ashiana Public School has submitted its reply to the Estate Office, principal of the school Lalita Prakash still has a complaint.
“We keep writing to the DEO office and the UT Education department to submit our admission details but we do not get any replies. Secondly, we have been waiting for the reimbursement for long. We have a total of 125 seats in nursery and of 19 reserved seats for EWS, we just have one vacant seat left. Otherwise, our school has the most number of EWS students in each class.”
Commenting on the land allotment violation by the schools, Director Public Instructions (Schools) Kamlesh Kumar said, “Education department cannot tolerate the violations going on in the schools, especially when the poor people are in need of quality education and some schools are denying that. We have to give them their due rights and for ensuring the compliance, the department will fight tooth and nail before all including the appropriate authority of Estate Office,” he said.
The department, Kumar added, had noticed that some schools were reluctant to give admission to EWS students and harassed parents, because of which parents did not come back but schools continued to complain that no EWS students approached them for admission.