More than halfway into the academic year, the education department is still struggling to fill up seats under the economically weaker sections (EWS) quota in private city schools.With just 23,979 admissions out of 1,13,991applications, it has now called for a third round of counselling. Experts said the online admission system brought in last year and resistance from schools had led to a sharp drop in EWS admissions, which had touched 31,571 in 2015. Last year, the number had dipped to 19,000.According to the department’s affidavits in the high court, 70,000 EWS applications were received last year. Advocate Khagesh Jha of NGO Social Jurist blamed the online sys tem for the wide gap. “The online system that was brought to Delhi was actually made for EWS admissions in Rajasthan. The rules in Delhi are not the same, but the online system has not been changed accordingly ,“ said Jha. He added that the mapping system done in Delhi is not accurate.“We have cases where students living in Madhu Vihar (IP Extension) have been sent to Madhu Vihar near Dwarka, just because the names are the same,“ he alleged, adding that several schools also don’t show up in the choices for parents while filling the online application form, despite these schools falling within the 1km radius.Jha said many are turned away by allotted schools over inconsequential reasons. For example, EWS parent Kamal wrote to the education department that the school allotted to his ward was asking for the child’s passport. “The name came in the lucky draw for a school in Nangloi. On getting there, the administration told me I need to get my son Vansh’s passport as mandatory document to be eligible for admission. All other prescribed documents had been submitted more than 10 days ago,“ wrote Kamal.As per the education department affidavit, 23,979 EWS admissions have taken place this year in the first and second rounds. The directorate of education (DoE) has now released a notification for a third counselling. The first round of counselling began in March this year, while admissions started in April.
Five months after admissions had started, DoE ordered its deputy directors of education to “check and verify the number of the general category admissions done by all private unaided recognised schools of Delhi where selected candidates are still being kept under `in waiting’ category on account of less general category admissions in their entry level classes…“
DoE plans to hold the third round of counselling after this process is over, well into the year when most students of general category have appeared for their midterm examinations.