For parents in Delhi, which has a policy for admission of students from the EWS category before the RTE Act was implemented, what are the options?
Schools built on government land will have to meet their obligations. A government notification of 2007 says all schools on government land will have to reserve 20% seats for EWS children. This predates the RTE Act. At least this will have to be met. There is no question of these children being forced to pay fee or leave.
The problem in lease documents in some schools is that in some cases, the quantum of reservation is 25% and in others 20% or 10%. It seems like the officers at the time were not very consistent with the policy. For children studying in schools on private land, the Act clearly says free education is till Class VIII.
Is the government planning to intervene in the case of these children?
We are looking at the different possibilities. So far, it seems it will be tough for the government to pay for their education beyond Class VIII. The quality of government schools has improved over time. While not every school is as good as private ones, many are doing well. We will have to see where, based on the area they live in, they can be accommodated. It is tough for the government to invest both in private and government schools at the same time. We are looking at feasible options.
Has this issue been discussed with the Centre?
When the Act was passed in Parliament, this issue should have been thought through and the provision extended till Class XII. If a government that thinks about education comes into power, an Amendment to the Act can be made. I have raised this issue at least thrice in the Central Advisory Board of Education meetings over the years.