Schools that fail to provide free books and uniforms to its Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) students and children in the disadvantaged category will now invite strict penalty from the Directorate of Education (DoE).
Instructing all private unaided schools in the capital to provide books, uniforms and writing material free of cost to EWS students, the DoE, in a soon-to-be released order, said non-compliance of the order will be taken seriously and “strict action will be taken against the erring schools”.
Furthermore, it has asked all schools to display the information on their notice boards.
“All private unaided recognised schools are directed to display on the notice board of the school that free books, uniforms and writing materials are to be supplied to students of EWS/DG category. Further, all schools are directed to furnish the information for supplying of free books and uniforms on the department’s online module. The compliance report of displaying the particulars on the notice board should also be furnished to the Directorate within seven days,” the DoE order states.
Urging the government to take action with regard to providing free books and uniforms to EWS children, the HC had asked the DoE to file a status report on the number of schools providing these facilities. The Right to Education Act makes it mandatory for private schools to provide free books and uniforms to EWS children. Yet, few schools in the capital implement the provision.
“Though I managed to secure a seat for my daughter in Class I, I was asked to pay Rs 3,000 for books and uniform, something I couldn’t afford then. So I had to withdraw my child’s name,” Sunita Sharma, a Shahbad Daulatpur resident, said.
“RTE mandates schools to provide free books and uniforms to EWS children, but less than five per cent of them are doing it, with the result that many children are forced to drop out. With the High Court now monitoring the status of implementation and DoE issuing instructions to implement it in spirit, hopefully, the situation will improve,” Khagesh Jha said. Jha is representing Justice for All, which filed the petition in court.