Policy Matters

Sibal emphasis on Quota for poor kids at Pvt Schools

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On September 6, 2010, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, mentioned that failure to reserve 25% of seats for children from poor families in private schools would be mandatory and would be punishable, when delivering the Vithal Chandavarkar memorial lecture at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). This would be covered under the umbrella of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009.

The government enforced the RTE Act on April 1, 2010 to ensure free and compulsory education to all children between six and 14 years, including those below poverty line. Though several private schools expressed concerns over the quota, failure to implement the provision in the next three years will be punishable once the amendment bill to the Act is passed by lawmakers in Parliament. The national commission for protection of child rights has been mandated to monitor the implementation of the act, while a special division will undertake the task. The commission will also set up a toll free helpline to register complaints against schools violating the provisions of the RTE Act.

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