Social Jurist writes to Delhi CM seeking uniform distance criteria of 0-3 kms instead of 0-1 km in EWS admissions in unaided schools
A Civil Rights Group
Hon’ble Smt. Sheila Dikshit,
Govt. of N.C.T of Delhi
Secretariat I.P Estate,
Subject:- Request for adopting uniform distance criteria i.e 0-3 kms, 3-6 kms. and beyond 6 kms for admission of EWS students in recognized private Schools under RTE Act 2009, as well as under public land allotment clause
Many poor parents have serious complaint that there is no unaided private school within one km of their residence and therefore, they are deprived of the benefit of EWS provisions of RTE Act, 2009. During academic years of 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, admissions in unaided non-minority private schools in terms of section 12 (1) (c) of Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE, Act) are based on a distance criteria i.e in the first round children residing within 1 km. are considered. In case, the seats remain unfilled in the first round, in the second round, children residing upto 3 kms are considered. In case, seats remain unfilled even after second round of admission, in the third round, the children residing upto 6 kms. are considered and in case, seats still remain unfilled even after third round, in the final round, the children residing beyond 6 kms. are considered.
It is noted that by applying the aforementioned “ distance criteria” of admission of EWS students in 25% quota under RTE Act, 2009 in these past years, nearly all seats are filled up with the students residing within the distance of 1 km. of the respective unaided private school. It is of course, very exciting situation where children residing nearer to the school get admission in the school. However, there is other part of the story also which is not at all exciting and rather disappointing. It is noted that very large no of children particularly residing in various slums and re-settlement colonies of Delhi do not get any opportunity for consideration under 25 % quota as they are not residing within 1 km. of the unaided school but are residing beyond 1 km. but within 3 kms. of the school. It is also noted that there are no unaided private schools within one km of a large number of slums and resettlement colonies and for that reason; parents residing therein get no opportunity at all to avail the facility of EWS quota. Therefore, though the preference given to the children residing within 1 km. over those children residing beyond 1km. but within 3 kms. looks very ideal but in reality deprives a very large number of children who are equally poor and deserving, even from participating in the lottery system.
There are other reasons also which have prompted us to write the present representation for reconsidering the present distance criteria for EWS admission in 25% quota under RTE Act, 2009.
The admission in unaided recognized private schools (both unaided minority and unaided non-minority schools) on public land allotted to them on concessional rates are governed by a different distance criteria than that applied to admission in unaided non-minority schools in 25 % under RTE Act, 2009. The distance criteria applied in case of admission under EWS category/quota in unaided minority as well as non-minority schools situated on public lands is: 0- 3 kms. 3-6 kms. and beyond 6 kms. whereas in case of admissions in EWS quota under 25% under RTE Act is: 0-1 km., 1- 3 kms.,3- 6 kms. and beyond 6 kms. It is submitted that how for the same object and purpose, two different contradictory distance formulas can be applied? It is submitted that the distance formulas of 0-3 kms., 0-6 kms., beyond 6 kms is much more just, rational, child-friendly and Delhi-characteristic in comparison to distance formula of 0-1 km, 1-3 kms.,3-6 kms. and beyond 6 kms.
It may also be noted that usually all these admissions are applied in Senior Secondary Schools (Nursery to Class XII). In terms of the National Policy on Education, Secondary Schools and Senior Secondary Schools are required to be within 3 and 5 kms respectively. It appears to be highly illogical and irrational to not to give opportunity to the children residing within 3/5 kms for the purpose of admissions in Secondary/Sr. Secondary Schools under EWS quota. When all seats are filled up by the children residing within one km, the other children not residing within one km but residing within 3/5kms feel cheated. It is, therefore, necessary that one km preferential criteria needs to be abolished and in the first round of admission itself, at least all children residing within 3 kms need to be considered for admission through draw of lots.
It is therefore, requested that the distance formula i.e. 0-3 kms, 3-6 kms. and beyond 6 kms. must be applied uniformly to both kind of EWS admissions. We make it clear that our demand for change of distance criteria is in regard to academic year 2014-15 and onwards as the admissions process in regard to 2013-14 has already completed. We hope that the Government will give serious considerations to the present demand for the modification of existing distance criteria in regard to admissions in unaided non-minority schools under RTE Act, 2009, by adopting uniform distance criteria of 0-3km, 3-6 kms. and beyond 6 kms. as is presently applied in case of EWS admissions in both unaided minority as well as in non-minority schools situated on public lands (such schools are obliged to provide admission to EWS students and grant them free-ship in terms of land allotment conditions).
Ashok Agarwal,, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist