Who will buy uniforms for EWS students?

It has become difficult for the families belonging to economic weaker sections (EWS) to buy expensive school uniforms for their wards attending private schools. Private schools maintain that they only have to provide EWS students with admission, and other things are the prerogative of the UT Education Department.

The Education Department is yet to provide free school uniforms even to government schools' students. It is not certain whether EWS students studying in private schools will get free uniforms.

Rakesh Sachdeva, principal of DAV Public School, Sector 15, said, "Already our bills pertaining to expenditure incurred on EWS students in the last two years are pending with the Education Department. We cannot afford free textbooks and school uniforms. The Education Department should provide them with whatever they need."

"Moreover, while a case is going on in the Punjab and Haryana High Court related to private schools, we have received instructions not to hike the fee. How then can schools provide all the facilities free of cost? Sometimes in DAV schools I manage to get some sponsors for EWS students," Sachdeva added.

The RTE Act, which was introduced to provide free education to students belonging to economicically weaker sections or other reserved categories at par with other students, has become a bone of contention among private schools and the UT Education Department.

Manoj, the father of an EWS student, working as a domestic help in Sector 15, said that last year, his child did not get a free school uniform but that his landlord helped him. "It is difficult to buy even a shirt for a small boy because fine cloth is always costly," he said.

Sources in the UT Education Department said that the department has decided to transfer money to government school accounts for the purchase of school uniforms, but private schools have not got any intimation of any help with uniforms.

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