DoE Says 31,000 Seats Available For EWS Children This Year But Only 20k Have Been AdmittedKrittika.Sharma @timesgroup.com
New Delhi: The directorate of education is under fire for “losing” seats allotted in school admission for students of the economically weaker sections in the past few years. DoE had itself announced the availability of over 31,000 EWS seats for this year, and claimed in a court affidavit that 20,000 of these were filled, leaving 11,000 seats unaccounted for.
At various times, DoE has presented differing figures for the EWS seats available. In February, DoE had announced that 1,13,991 applications were received for the 31,000 nursery seats constituting the 25% EWS quota. However, in an affidavit submitted to Delhi high court on November 21, the intake figure for EWS admissions was put at 28,000, with a claim of 20,000 admissions having been achieved.
In another part of the affidavit, DoE again said it intended to “adjust” the vacant seats — 4,000 of them — in the next academic year, re-calculating the total seats available to 24,000.
According to Khagesh Jha of Social Jurist, the differing figures proffered by the education department officials at have effectively chopped the official availability of EWS seats to just 24,000 seats. “DoE has no locus standi to adjust the remaining seats next year. Even if it directs such an action, some private school will go to court and DoE will raise its hands saying we can’t do anything because the matter is under litigation,” Jha said.
According to the grievance redressal listed in the annexures to the affidavit, DoE said most complaints were resolved through “telephonic communications” with the respective schools.
Some queries of the redressal forum were answered with a simple: “The head of school has been instructed to give admission to all children who have been allotted the school as per rules.” Jha pointed out that while a complaint was shown as having been resolved on the redressal system, the parent actually continued to be harassed by the school due to DoE not following up the complaint to the end.
Kamal Gupta, legal representative of private schools, in turn, pointed out many seats remained vacant because the allotted applicant drops out of the school fails to report to the schools. These vacant seats, he said, get carried on to the next class, and the school informs DoE about these empty seats.
Calls and messages to DoE officials asking for their response went unanswered.