Suryakant Jena

The Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) on Wednesday suggested several measures for stricter implementation of the policies on reservation for economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in private schools in the State. 

Responding to a letter from the Director, Elementary Education, the OSCPCR said it should be responsibility of the duty bearers to identify eligible children from EWS category and mobilize them towards schools to the benefits of the reservation as parents and children of socially and economically disadvantage community are not acquainted with online system. Many of them are first generation learners.

In this regard, the OSCPCR has suggested several guidelines for smooth dissemination of information to different stakeholders to support parents of children belonging to economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups to register online on RTE Paradasrshi portal. 

  1. • The child rights watchdog has suggested ensuring a hoarding in local language in each District Education Office and in each private school. This should be placed in such a location which should be easily visible for the public. 
  2. • Each private school must designate one person who will survey the situation in their neighborhood areas and provide service for entering details in the portal. The name of the designated person must be available to the DEO. 
  3. • The number of seats allocated for this purpose should be informed to the DEO well in advance and should remain vacant in case there is no such application. Admission against these seats should continue throughout the year.
  4. • The DEO should form a committee involving DCPO, DSWO, DWO, DSSO and NGOs working on child rights. The committee should be provided with the scope to visit places within the districts to map the situation and link the identified children through the portal.

Notably, the government has mandated reservation of 25 percent seats for EWS category students in private schools. But a plethora of allegations often come to fore in suggesting that due to prevalent unfamiliarity of people, private schools mostly disregard the policy and deprive eligible candidates from availing their due educational rights. 

Taking cognizance of such situation, the OSCPR has directed to ensure that private schools must under all circumstances keep the specified quota of seats to be available at all time for fill up by students from EWS and disadvantaged groups. The private schools have been warned of action in case of violation of the guidelines.