Himansu Shekhar Rout

Private schools in Odisha were accused of violating the Right to Education Act 2009 (RTE) guideline of 25 per cent seat reservation for free admission of students from the economically weaker sections (EWS). 

The parents and guardians launched a protest in Bhubaneswar alleging that children, who are eligible to receive free education in private schools, are being deprived of the benefit when the private schools are supposed to adhere to the guidelines.

The guardians pointed out that under the Right to Education Act 2009, privately managed schools are required to reserve 25 per cent of seats for children belonging to the ‘weaker sections and the disadvantaged group.’ 

While 15 per cent of seats are required to be reserved for the disadvantaged, the rest 10 per cent is for children belonging to the weaker sections of society. They also alleged that it is mandatory for private primary and high schools to provide free and compulsory education to all children in the aforesaid sections as it is their fundamental right.  

Guardians of some students and activists of the Odisha Abhibhabak Mahasangh on Thursday alleged that despite such provisions, private schools in Bhubaneswar are bluntly refusing admission to students of the economically weaker sections even though they have drawn the attention of the top officials of the Odisha School and Mass Education department and the concerned Directorate. 

As per reports, indignant over the issue, guardians came to CM's official residence, Naveen Niwas and held discussions over the issue.

However, they reportedly returned disappointed from Naveen Niwas and staged protests near the block education office.
A guardian alleged, “There is the provision of 25 per cent reservation for students for free admission even in the UKG and LKG levels, but the schools are refusing to do so. In standard I, such seats are missing.” 

Prasanna Bisoi, the executive president of the Odisha Abhibhabak Mahasangh said, "The reputed private schools are refusing admission to the students of weaker sections in reserved seats. They say they have no such seats, but in their web portal, they have shown the number of reserved seats allotted by the government. But the guidelines are not being followed due to a nexus between the officials of the School and Mass Education department and the private school authorities.”

No comments were received from the authorities of the concerned school and the School and Mass Education department.