LAST YEAR, Rakesh Kumar had applied to get his son admitted to the nursery section of private schools under the Economically Weaker Section/Disadvantaged category. But he was rendered helpless when his son did not get admission in any private school in the city even though almost 18,000 seats of the 25% reserved under the category lay vacant.
Kumar was forced to send his son to an unrecognised school close to his house. This year, he applied again for admission in KG, under the Right to Education Act, which mandates that all schools (barring minority schools) reserve 25% of their seats at the entry level for students from the EWS/DG category.
The wait, however, is not over as the draw of lots for admission under the category has been delayed twice. The last date of application was February 21. The draw of lots was to be conducted on March 7, but was delayed due to a ‘technical glitch’. On March 8, the draw was again deferred to March 15 due to problems in “complying with the Delhi High Court order”.
In an order dated February 21, 2018, the Delhi High Court had asked the Directorate of Education (DOE) to “ensure that any unfilled seats in the EWS quota shall be filled from among pending application for the academic year 2017-18.” The government has been asked to submit a compliance affidavit by March 14.
According to a source, the DOE is having a tough time complying with the order as the admission process for the 2018-19 session is in process and accommodating last years’ applicants is proving to be problematic.
In the other affidavits submitted in court earlier, the government has talked about carrying forward vacancies or transferring the seats to the next academic session, but legal experts and school authorities say this cannot be done. “We also wish transfers could take place but there are no existing laws or rules that permit the government to do so,” said Khagesh Jha, of Social Jurist who has moved three PILs against denial of admission in schools. Each school is supposed to reserve 25% seats under the category each year. If a few seats go vacant, schools do not carry them forward for the next session as they go beyond the mandated 25% quota.
Of the applicants, Tauqeer Ali’s daughter got admission in a south Delhi school last year. “Her name was in the list of selected candidates but when we went to the school, they refused admission. I ran from pillar to post but nothing happened. If on the basis of last year’s application, admission is done, it will be good for my daughter,” said Ali, who had applied for admission in Class I last year. For admission in Class II, Ali would have to go check the vacancy with individual schools.
This year, there are 1,28,000 application for 45,000 seats in 1,700 private schools in the city under the EWS/DG category.