Reeling under losses, ‘budget’ private schools in Delhi seek partial reimbursement for EWS students

The Private Lands Public Schools Trust, an association of around 2,000 ‘budget’ private schools, has written to the education department requesting the immediate release of 50% of the reimbursement amount paid to schools in the last academic year.

With the Delhi government ordering private schools to admit all children under the economically weaker section (EWS) category regardless of how many general admissions have taken place, low-cost schools have asked that a part of the reimbursement for EWS students be disbursed immediately to help them stay afloat.

According to the Right to Education Act, private schools are required to reserve admissions for 25 per cent of their seats in entry-level classes for students from the EWS/DG category, for which they are reimbursed by the government.

This year, the application process for schools to request reimbursement is yet to be completed due to technical issues. “The applications are not yet completed this year as the final submission step in the online module is not working; it should have been completed in April. It takes at least three months after the application submissions for the amount to be released as there is a verification and claiming process. Given that our schools are crushed because of Covid, an immediate release of the part of the funds will help us pull through for a few months and do basic things like paying our electricity bills and teacher salaries,” said Chandrakant Singh, who runs Ideal Radiant Public School in Uttam Nagar. His school has not seen general admissions this year and has been allotted 18 students from the EWS category.

The Indian Express has reported that low fee collection and a huge drop in new enrollments over the past year have meant that these schools are struggling financially. They also have had few general admissions.

The Private Lands Public Schools Trust, an association of around 2,000 such ‘budget’ private schools in the city, has written to the education department requesting the immediate release of 50% of the reimbursement amount paid to schools in the last academic year.

“Due to this delay [in reimbursement] and Covid-19, all these private schools are facing a financial crunch and unable to manage their day-to-day expenses… most of them are on the verge of closure… you are humbly requested to immediately release at least 50 per cent reimbursement amount to all private unaided schools that is paid in the last financial year to save these budget schools to sustain for the next few months. This amount can be adjusted from the final amount of the schools’ reimbursement claim,” the letter stated.

Director of education Udit Prakash Rai did not respond to queries on this matter.

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