Only 4% schools show interest, govt to start fresh EWS registrations


Gurgaon: After only 4% of private schools registered for allowing free admission to EWS/BPL students under Rule 134A, the education department has decided to reopen registrations from June 10-25. The announcement came in a circular released earlier this week.
Last week, TOI reported that of over 7,000 private schools in the state, only 300 declared seats for free admissions under Rule 134A in classes 2-12 on the registration portal launched by the department. In Gurgaon, out of 400 schools, only five declared 386 seats. Last time, the portal was live only for a week, from April 23-30, when the schools were busy with board exams. “Many schools could not apply on the portal as they were busy with the board exams. So, we will be reopening the portal in June, and this time, it will be live for two weeks. We expect the responses to shoot up,” said a senior secondary education department official.
Under Rule 134A, schools had to reserve 10% of seats in classes 2 to 12 for students from the EWS/BPL families. In March, the state government removed Rule 134-A from the Haryana Education Rules through a gazette notification, saying it would instead implement the RTE ACT, constituting 25% reservation in entry-level classes for students from the EWS/BPL families. While Rule 134-A is no longer binding for schools, the department has urged them to continue the scheme as a goodwill gesture. The government will reimburse Rs 700 for classes up to 5, Rs 900 for classes 6 to 9, and Rs 1,100 for classes 10 to 12.
However, schools said the government should make the offer more lucrative. From increasing the reimbursement amount to easing the EWS/BPL certification process, schools reiterated that the government had to fix the structural issues with Rule 134A for schools to show any interest in complying with it, especially when there’s no legal compulsion to do so.
“Extension or no extension, schools will not show interest in this rule because they are not getting anything. The government needs to incentivise the scheme and increase the reimbursement amount. The burden of verifying certificates, obtained illegitimately by some parents, is still on the schools, which further discourages them,” said Col Pratap Singh, district president, Haryana Progressive Schools’ Conference, an association of over 500 private schools. “The government, however, can introduce a voucher system for the students. Provide vouchers to the students through direct benefit transfer. Students can avail them in schools of their choice,” he added.
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