Deputy Chief Minister and Education minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday ordered all nurseries, playschools, creches and pre-primary schools, allotted land by a government agency or the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), to reserve 25 per cent of its seats for students from the economically weaker sections (EWS).
Implementing the guidelines issued by the Delhi High Court in November 2014, the Delhi government has also decided that EWS students will not be charged registration fee or be asked to pay for the prospectus. According to the High Court guidelines, every school on government land will have to display the number of seats it has on its website as well as on an easily accessible public notice board.
As laid down in the guidelines, playschools on government land will not conduct any tests or interviews of parents or the child while admitting children from the EWS category. If applications exceed the number of seats available, the school will grant these admissions by ‘draw of lots’.
A Delhi government official said the eligibility of a student to apply to a school close to his/her residence will be determined according to the norms laid down in the Right to Education (RTE) Act. According to Section 3 of the RTE Act, a child shall have “the right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till the completion of his or her elementary education”.
The High Court had clarified that its order would apply exclusively to playschools, nurseries and creches running on government land. It will also apply to private unaided recognised schools — other than minority schools — whether on government or private land, and having entry level classes such as pre-school, pre-primary or Class I. These schools should continue to reserve 25 per cent of its seats for EWS students under provisions of the RTE Act, the court order had said.
Government officials said schools failing to implement the order will face serious action by the government, including cancellation of the land lease by the government agency or the DDA.