Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, which has two schools in the city suffered the total loss of Rs 5 crore after the introduction of the mandatory 25 percent quota admission for children of the economically weaker sections (EWS) under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
There are many other schools in the state that have been suffering losses due to no compensation from the government.
“I have a total of 600 seats, adding both my schools and their shifts together. We give admission to 150 RTE students every year since 2013. However, we haven’t received a single penny in terms of reimbursement from the government towards these admissions, which means we are bearing the entire cost of their education. We are a school, not a profit-making business and our fees are anyway not that high,” Nandkumar Kakirde, secretary of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, said.
Bharat Bhendarge who is a school owner from Aurangabad, sat on a protest about a fortnight ago outside the office of Director of Education in Pune because his school had lost Rs 37.5 lakh because of non-collection of fees from the 25 percent reserved seats for RTE admissions.
“I have 50 seats under RTE. Most of the time they are not filled, but the government does not allow us to take admissions on the vacant seats. They can be wasted, but not filled through regular admissions,” he claimed.
Jagrutti Dharmadhikari, president of the Independent English Schools Association (IESA) had organised a strike to demand the payment of EWS dues. Jagrutti told to Indian Express, “We had given it in writing that we will not take EWS quota admissions from next academic year if our dues are not cleared by September 30”.
Sources: Indian Express
The assent by President Pranab Mukherjee for the amendment of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 seemed like a hasty and regressive step for a legislation which focuses on removal and eradication of child labour in the country. The new amendment which was passed in the Rajya Sabha before reaching the President allows children up to the age of 14 to work in family businesses outside school and during vacations.
Though the changes have been made considering the social and economic conditions of many communities in India, the law indirectly exploits the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. India already witnesses a massive amount of child labour with over 33 million children from age 0-18 involved in the illegal activity. The amendment allows a chance of manipulation on part of employers and families who often risk the future of children for the purpose of survival. The United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) has claimed that this amendment will especially be harmful for marginalised and tribal communities who highly suffer from poverty and lack of rightful education as rates of child labour among these communities are 7% and 4 % respectively,
The new Child Labour Act will also give a leeway to farmers to employ their children in agriculture which constitutes almost half of India’s child labour work. Managing work and education is an exceedingly tedious and impossible task; expectation from adolescents to manage and cope with such circumstances is an unattainable reality. The capacity of learning, aptitude and health of children who will indulge in such family run trades will clearly be affected. The absence of complete attention on studies might also result in several drop outs. In a bid to acknowledge the socio economic conditions of the country, such a major change in an act which tries to safeguard the interest of children is only retrograde move on part of the parliament which will prove precarious for the future of the nation.