Only 4% EWS parents aware of reservation under RTE Act: Study

April 26, 2014 by The Indian Express

Only four per cent of parents from economically weaker sections (EWS) are aware about the availability of 25 per cent seats under EWS category in the capital’s private schools, under the RTE Act, a study has shown.

The study also found that only half of these four per cent parents have managed to navigate through bureaucratic and psychological barriers to apply.

The report was released at a Delhi state-wide conference on the Right to Education Act by Indus Action — an NGO working exclusively towards implementation of Section 12(1)(C) clause of the RTE Act — with support from Central Square Foundation.

“The Right to Education has opened up many opportunities for children from economically weaker sections. Yet, despite the best efforts to spread awareness, eligible families seem to have little knowledge about the policy. Section 12(1)(c) of RTE Act has the potential to put roughly 10 million children across India on a different path in the next five years, making it the single largest opportunity seat scheme in the world. But we need a better state-wide implementation plan for that to happen,” Tarun Cherukuri, founder, Indus Action, said.

The report details on-ground implementation of the mandatory 25 per cent reservation for EWS children and those who are socially disadvantaged. It is based on responses from 350-odd families in South, Southeast, Southwest, North, Northeast and Central Delhi.

Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act mandates that private unaided schools reserve 25 per cent of their seats in entry-level classes for EWS students and those from disadvantaged groups.

Even though awareness levels are low, the report states that eligible families were adequately equipped to apply.

“ 94.8 per cent people had at least one of the birth proof certificates. 96.85 per cent people had at least one of the accepted documents for address proof. And 82.8 per cent people had at least one of the accepted documents for proof of income,” the report states.

Yet, families chose not to apply, with the exception of four per cent families who did — high fees being a major concern discouraging them from applying to private schools.

The report notes that families did not approach government officials for information, relying instead on help from other families ( 29 per cent) and employers (28 per cent).

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