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Roshni B.. (For justice and dignity)     28 January 2011

Poor dad mortgages gold 4 disabled child's school admission

Father mortgaged gold for child's admission


School principal claims ignorance over matter

On Monday Delhi government reaffirmed that private schools will have to follow guidelines for reserving 25 per cent of total seats for economically weaker section (EWS) and will act if complaints about non-compliance are brought before it.

Walk to remember: Gaurav with his father Kamal Abrol, at
Ashok Vihar in New Delhi on Tuesday. Pic/ Subhash Barolia

That, however, has changed little for Gaurav Abrol. For parents of the seven-year-old, getting their mentally disabled son educated is proving to be a big drain on their financial resources thanks to the sheer callousness of the school authorities.

Gaurav had secured admission at Kulachi Hansraj Model School, Ashok Vihar, in 2010 under both disabled and Economically Weaker Section (EWS) categories. He is 60 per cent disabled as he has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (with Spastic Quadriparesis and Mental Retardation) and studies in Manovikas Kendra, a wing for the disabled in the school. His father is a driver with a private agency.

According to Section 3 (2) of RTE Act, 2009, it is mandatory for every school to provide free education to children belonging to the economically weaker sections and disadvantaged group. So as per the law, Gaurav should have been exempted from paying the fee. But that is not the case.

"At the time of admission, I had mortgaged some gold to pay for the seat and the school authorities had promised exemption of fee afterwards. I have repeatedly visited the school with all necessary documents in the last three months for the exemption, which is Rs 6611 for a quarter (three months) but the school has not paid any heed to my pleas. I am barely managing to pay the money now." said Kamal, Gaurav's father.

Kamal then filed a complaint with the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) alleging that the school authorities were violating RTE rules as they had not exempted his son, a student of class I, who is 60 per cent disabled and falls in the EWS category as well, from paying the fee. MID DAY has a copy of the complaint.

Taking note of the matter, the commission has sent a notice to the institution. "The denial of benefit under EWS quota to the son of the complainant is violative of the orders of the Supreme Court of India, passed on the subject, since the name of the school figures in the list of schools allotted land by government," the DCPCR notice said. 

"We have already sent a word to the school authorities in this case. Also, the commission would like to have an Action Taken Report on the subject which should include the list of children, class-wise, granted the benefit of freeship (free education) under disabled and EWS category in the three preceding years and this year along with the total enrolment in each class," said MM Vidyarthi, member, DCPCR.

The Other Side

School authorities are however claiming ignorance over the issue. "I am not aware of any such case. I don't remember anybody coming to me with such a request. If they have a problem, they should come and see me," said P Dutta, principal of the school.

'Fall in line'

Delhi Government decided earlier this month to provide free education up to class XII to children belonging to economically weaker section in the city though the Right to education Act makes it obligatory to offer free education only up to class VIII.
With the decision, Delhi perhaps became the first state in the country to provide free education to the EWS children up to class XII, officials said. Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said the government has decided to extend the limit of free education from class VIII to XII to ensure that their studies do not end mid-way due to financial constraints.
Lovely said the government has asked all the private schools to reserve 25 per cent seats to the EWS category for admission into the nursery classes.
He said government would give assistance in the range of Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,500 per EWS child monthly to the schools for providing education. The total annual financial implication on the government would be around Rs one crore.
"We will provide the kids free education from nursery up to 12th standard," said Lovely.
He said all the private schools will have to inform the government about the number of EWS children admitted to the nursery classes and if any school does not get enough application to fill the quota than education department will fill the seats through a centralised admission process.


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