Democratic Sangh demanding the implementation of reservation for disadvantaged communities in private schools in Hyderabad | Pic: Sourced
Democratic Sangh demanding the implementation of reservation for disadvantaged communities in private schools in Hyderabad | Pic: Sourced

Demand for reservation for disadvantaged groups in private school raised through hunger strike by Democratic Sangha

The Right to Information Act, which was passed in 2009, provides for a 25% reservation for students from marginalised sections in private schools to provide equal opportunities

Why is the Telangana government reluctant to implement Section 12 (1) C of the Right to Education Act in the state? A Hyderabad-based non-profit, Democratic Sangha staged a one-day hunger strike in the city on March 9, demanding the implementation of this provision which mandates a 25% reservation for students from economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in private schools. 

The Democratic Sangha has submitted a memorandum with this demand to the Principal Secretary of the Commissioner and Director of School Education, V Karuna, asking for immediate implementation of Section 12 (1) C of the RTE Act in the state. However, they have not received a fruitful response yet. "It has been nine years since the state was formed. According to our number 10 lakh students have already lost the opportunity to study in private schools. All students, whether rich or poor, should have equal opportunities, and this is the first step in that direction," Brahmachari Chaitanya, founder and president of the Democratic Sangha, told Edexlive. 

He adds that a PIL was filed by advocate Yogesh Tandava in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Courts in 2017 to direct the government to implement the Act. The AP High Court, which heard the PIL, directed the state government in January 2022 to implement Section 12 (1) C of the RTE. "It has been successfully implemented in the state, and we are trying to spread awareness about it so more people can avail of the opportunity," Chaitanya says. 

However, when the matter was mentioned in the Telangana High Court, the Chief Justice remarked that it was "not urgent." Chaitanya notes that neither the court nor the government is willing to initiate a conversation on the matter. 

In fact, Telangana is one amongst 11 states and Union Territories that have not yet implemented that provision of the Act. According to Chaitanya, the Telangana government claims that it is investing heavily in improving government school infrastructure and quality of education. "However, children of the politicians and the bureaucrats only go to private schools. Why should poor children then go to government schools? To break the cycle of poverty, these students deserve the right to the exposure they will receive at private schools," he remarks. With the Act has provided for the reservation to begin from Class I, Chaitanya claims that the issue of integration is also resolved since children that young are not inherently divided by class yet. 

There, however, seems to be some ray of hope on the horizon. The Supreme Court has issued a notice in a PIL filed for the implementation of Section 12 (1) C of the RTE Act. Once children are enrolled through the reservation system, the government will pay the private schools a fixed amount of money periodically to cover their fees. "Private schools are reluctant to let this happen. However, the constitution provides that education should be not-for-profit, and that principle must be implemented," Chaitanya reflects. 

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