Orphaned children being denied free education: NGO

An NGO has written to Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit drawing her attention to orphaned children allegedly being denied benefit of free education.

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2012, 20:45 PM IST

New Delhi: With nursery admissions going on
in the city, an NGO has written to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila
Dikshit drawing her attention to orphaned children allegedly
being denied benefit of free education in private schools due
to their non-inclusion in the "Disadvanated Group" category.

As per the guidelines issued by Directorate of Education
(DoE) Delhi, private schools have to keep aside 25 per cent of
their seats for students belonging to the Disadvantaged Group
and the Economic Weaker Section (EWS) of the society.

Taking up the issue, the NGO, Social Jurist, has now
requested the government to consider including orphaned
children in this category so that they can also get benefit of
admission and free education in unaided private schools.

"You are well aware of the fact that there are thousands
of orphan children in our national capital city of Delhi who
are sheltered in various government and non-government run
homes. No body can dispute that these children are the most
`disadvantaged children` who need all round attention
from both the State and the Society.

The Directorate of Education, Government of NCT of Delhi
in its notification specified `child with special needs and
suffering from disabilities as defined in Persons with
Disabilities Act, 1995` as child belonging to Disadvantaged
Group within the meaning of Section 2 (d) of the RTE Act,
2009.

However, the Orphan Children were left out, may be, due
to oversight," said the NGO in its letter to the Chief
Minister.

"In the existing provisions of RTE Act, 2009 in regard to
Delhi, an orphan child neither falls in `child belonging to
disadvantaged group` nor in `child belonging to economically
weaker section`," the NGO said in its letter to Dikshit.

"It is really not only unfortunate but also hit by the
provisions of Article 14 (right to equality), Article 21
(right to life with dignity), Article 21-A (right to
education) and Article 38 (right to social justice) of the
Constitution of India read with the provisions of RTE Act,
2009. Who can be more disadvantaged than that of an Orphan
Child?," it asked.

The Directorate of Education ought to have also specified
by notification that orphaned children belong to Disadvantaged
Group within the meaning of Section 2 (d) of the RTE Act so
that such children could also get benefit of admission and
free education in unaided private schools in the 25 per cent
reserved category, the letter stated.

Ashok Agarwal, who has written the letter on behalf of
the NGO, also cited a Government of India notification,
published in the Gazetteer of India on July 29, 2011, which
has specified "Orphan Chidren" as those belonging to
disadvantaged group in terms of Section 2 (d) of the RTE Act,
2009 for Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

"In order to ensure that `Orphan children" should take
benefit of the RTE Act, 2009 in the academic year 2012-13, the
Government of of Delhi have to promptly bring by Notification
`Orphan Child` as child belonging to Disadvantaged Group
within the meaning of Section 2 (d) of the RTE Act, 2009,"
Agarwal noted, requesting the Chief Minister to "immediately
intervene" in this matter.

PTI