In a move that will usher in more transparency in Delhi’s education system, the Directorate of Education has instructed Delhi’s private unaided schools to display information about seats available in all classes in its schools under both general and EWS category online on a weekly basis.
Citing a 2010 Central Information Commission order, it also asked schools to display “on a board which is easily visible from outside the school”, the total number of seats in all classes for general and EWS categories, seats still available under EWS quota, total applications received by the school under EWS quota and information about when the EWS quota applications will be received and the exact date by which admission will be granted to students under the same.
According to the order, schools will have to update this information once a week, in both English and Hindi. “Many private schools tend to deny students admission citing a lack of seat availability. The move will not only help parents know about the exact status of vacancies in a particular school, but also increase confidence of the people in the system by making information related to school admissions available to parents,” Amit Singla, Director of Education, said.
The move will help EWS category students secure admission in public schools. It will also help implement a previous notification that instructed schools — those allotted land at concessional rates by the government — to fill 15 per cent of seats for new admissions beyond entry-level (nursery, KG and Class I) with EWS students. It will also ensure that general category students can secure admission in schools of their choice, provided they have a vacancy, without having to pay a capitation fee.
“Admissions till Class I are under the purview of the RTE Act. So, a lot of public schools expand classes or add new sections from Class II onwards. Through this order, the extent of such excesses will also come in the public domain,” Khagesh Jha, an advocate, said.
But according to R C Jain, Chairman of the Delhi School Management Association, the direction is “of no practical use”, as school admissions closed on July 31. “The order is of no use as school admissions have already closed and we won’t be admitting students this year. They are just trying to use schools for their own selfish vote-bank politics, by trying to appeal to the economically weaker sections,” he said.
However, Director of Education Singla refuted Jain’s claims. “RTE Act clearly states that upto Class VIII ‘no child shall be denied admission if such admission is sought subsequent to the extended period’. In case a school refuses to do so, the Directorate can step in and direct the school to admit the student, failing which the school can even be derecognised,” Singla said.
The original CIC order had also asked schools to display other details including salary statements publicly. “The CBSE has also sent a letter, but we have strongly opposed it,” Jain said.
Sources in the government said students from EWS category were sometimes denied admission in Delhi schools. On filing an RTI application, it was found that a school still had seats vacant under the EWS category.