Project Saathi, a youth led non profit based out of Guwahati, Assam had filed a public interest litigation through its Founder and President, Debargha Roy, in the Gauhati High Court for the implementation of Right to Education Act 2009 – section 12 (1) c in the State of Assam which mandates every private unaided school to reserve at least 25 percent seats from classes 1 to 8 for students from economically weaker sections (EWS) and disadvantaged groups to provide free and compulsory education.
As an outcome of the PIL, the state has finally rolled out guidelines for its implementation. On February 26, 2021, the Director of Elementary Education, Government of Assam responded to Project Saathi’s petition with an annexure that contained a set of guidelines for implementation of Section 12 (1) c in Assam.
Hence, from the next academic year, every private school shall be mandated to follow this provision otherwise they will attract a penalty under the law that includes cancelling the school’s license.
The RTE Act has been implemented in many other states but not in Assam, so the government releasing the guidelines is a victory for our state, Roy said but added that the battle is not over yet. After reading the government guidelines, Project Saathi has found certain loopholes in the mentioned guidelines. They are currently working on the counter-affidavit which they will be filing in the High Court in order to seek improvement in the guidelines and implementation policy.
As per the guidelines released by the government, all the unaided non minority schools shall admit 25 percent of the total strength of class I and provide them free and compulsory education up till elementary education. They shall also admit children belonging to EWS and disadvantaged groups to the extent of at least 25 percent of the total strength of the preschool class where admission is taken.
The guidelines further state that the state government is to reimburse the expenditure incurred by the schools but “to the extent of per-child expenditure incurred by the state or the actual amount collected from the other student in general, whichever is less.”News, States