Not bound by EWS quota, these schools still fill it

SectionsUnaided minority schools safeguarding own future interest as they get govt aid in secondary sections.

Unaided minority schools safeguarding own future interest as they get govt aid in secondary sections.

Schools baulking at enrolling 25 per cent EWS students for free education under the Right to Education (RTE) Act is understandable, but many unaided minority schools, which are not legally bound to admit EWS students, are enrolling them even if it means they would have to bear cost of education of these students.

Education officials have fathomed the reason for this strange behaviour of many unaided minority schools in the city. According to them, these schools are trying to safeguard their own interest in the secondary sections, which in many cases are aided and would thus require EWS students under RTE.

If they do not enroll students in the EWS quota now, they would have to open up admission under this in the secondary section. That would create a "mess" and hence this subterfuge, explained senior officials with the education department of the Pune Zilla Parishad.

According to the March 15 government resolution (GR), "The 25 per cent reservation for economically weaker section (EWS) students shall apply to all schools except unaided minority schools and Madarsas, Vedic Pathshalas and Educational Institutions primarily imparting religious instruction."

Admission under RTE is applicable to Class I or the entry level of the school. Now, many minority schools have unaided primary and aided secondary sections. This means 25 per cent reservation does not apply to primary sections, said an education official.

But still, these schools reserved 25 per cent seats in pre-primary, the entry level, for EWS students. "This is illegal in a way. Because unaided minority schools have been exempted from abiding by RTE rules for EWS admission. The 25 per cent reservation is only applicable to private unaided schools in Maharashtra," said a senior ZP official. "The other part of the problem is, since these schools are exempt, they will not get any reimbursement from the government for taking in EWS students. Hence the cost of these free EWS students will have to be borne by the schools themselves," added the official.

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