Working Paper Series WP 2005/1 8Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools A report on the implementation of 20 per cent freeships to economically marginalized children in recognised private, un-aided schools in East Delhi Mallica October 2005 Institute of Social Studies Trust Core 6A, UG Floor, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road New Delhi 110003 www.isst-india.org 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 1 8Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools A report on the implementation of 20 per cent freeships to economically marginalized children in recognised private, un-aided schools in East Delhi Mallica 1 Abstract This is an exploratory study of the impact of the Supreme Court 9s judgment, followed by the Delhi government 9s notification, of reservation of 20-25 per cent seats and freeships to children of the economically disadvantaged classes by recognised, private, un-aided schools in Delhi. The study also documents ISST 9s experiences and the difficulties and challenges faced in assisting people from poor and deprived BPL families to get their children admitted in these schools. An attempt has been made to look at the perspectives of the children (who have been admitted under this scheme); the experiences and perspectives of their parents; ... more. less.
teachers (both of private and government schools) and principals of these schools.<br><br> The study reveals a tremendous sense of resentment against the order of the Delhi government and reluctance on the part of the private schools to admit children from the economically marginalized sections of society. This seems to be on account of the economic costs (since private schools will perforce have to bear the additional cost of schooling for these children) as also, more importantly from a hidden bias against children of the poor. At the same time, however, the study also recognises the constraints and problems faced by these schools in the implementation of the court order, for instance, the problem of meeting expenses over and above the tuition fees; problems of streamlining students into the schools etc.<br><br> It also raises the issue of problems that teachers might face in actual classroom situations while handling children from diverse, socio-economic and educational backgrounds and the need for capacity-building, counselling and training programmes for them. Perspectives and concerns of students in private schools from middle-class backgrounds have also been briefly looked at. The study raises significant questions also about the 8hidden costs 9 that parents are being forced to incur (for school uniforms; books; private tuition; transportation etc.) despite the provision of the 8freeships 9.<br><br> The need to deliberate upon markers of entry criteria, other than income, has also been stated. The study stresses upon the need to address these and related issues to increase the sustainability and viability of the scheme and to achieve the larger goal of equity and equality in education within the larger purview of the Common School System in India. 1 Mallica is currently a Consultant at ISST, Delhi and a Ph.D student of Sociology of Education at the Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.<br><br> This study has been conducted with the guidance and encouragement of the Director, ISST, Ratna M Sudarshan and the helpful insights of Amita Joshi and Shanta Gururani of ISST 9s Community Centre. Comments and suggestions from Prof. Geetha B.Nambissan, ZHCES, JNU; Prof.Anita Rampal, CIEDU and Dr Nilima M.<br><br> Chitopekar, Dept of History JMC, Delhi University and other participants at a discussion on an earlier draft, have been incorporated in the report. Editorial inputs from Preeti Gill are gratefully acknowledged. The responsibility for any errors of reasoning or facts rest with the author.<br><br> 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 2 This is a study of the impact of the Supreme Court 9s judgment, followed by the Delhi Government 9s notification, of reservation of 20-25 per cent seats and freeships to the children of the economically disadvantaged classes by recognised, private, 2 un-aided schools in Delhi. This study also documents ISST 9s experiences and the difficulties and challenges faced in assisting people from poor and deprived BPL families to get their children admitted in these schools in East Delhi. The 25 per cent quota has its genesis in the land lease agreements of private un-aided schools in Delhi.<br><br> These schools had obtained land at concessional rates from the Delhi government on condition that 25 per cent of their intake would be in the form of freeships for children of poor parents. In January 2004, the Delhi High Court, hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by the Social Jurist Forum 3 (in 2002) ordered private, un- aided schools to abide by the conditions in their land lease agreements. With this verdict, even schools whose land lease agreements do not have this clause now have to reserve 20 per cent seats 4 in their schools.<br><br> This verdict is being seen as a bid to check commercialization of education and to ensure that private, un-aided schools do not renege on their social obligations. In contrast to this view, is the contrary opinion that this mechanism is merely a cfaçade to hide the real problem d, which is a lack of cproper functioning of government schools d. 5 2 This study looks at two types of schools in Delhi: Private and Government schools.<br><br> In India the term 8public 9 school is also used alternatively for private schools. This study has used the term 8private 9 in place of 8public 9 schools. Private, aided schools receive regular maintenance grant from the government, local body or from any public authority.<br><br> Private, un-aided schools are managed by an individual or a private organization and do not receive any maintenance grant either from government, local body or any public authority etc (Source:Gupta, Soumya,http://www.ccsindia.org/policy/ed/studies/wp0068.pdf). According to the sixth all-India educational survey(1993), NCERT (1998), the share of private schools in Delhi was as follows: Primary : 10.6 per cent. Out of this, 8per cent were private, un-aided schools Middle : 57.7 per cent, Out of this, 52 per cent were private, un-aided schools Senior : 34.4 per cent were private, un-aided schools Senior Secondary: 37 per cent.<br><br> Out of this 20.8 per cent were private, un-aided (Source:Gupta, Soumya,http://www.ccsindia.org/policy/ed/studies/wp0068.pdf) 3 Counsel for the petitioner, Ashok Aggarwal, reminded the court that out of 1500 un-aided private schools, over 1200 had been allotted private land at a rate much lower than the market price. The petitioner added that, as land was granted to these schools at concessional rates by the DDA, it was binding upon them to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for children from the weaker sections of the society. None of the schools, said Aggarwal, had complied with this condition.<br><br> The authorities were ctotally insensitive and apathetic towards the rights of the poor d, he said, as no action had been taken till date against the erring schools. The allotment letters of certain schools mentioned, cthat society shall ensure that the percentage of (concession in) tuition fees, as laid down under the rules, would be strictly complied with d. In the absence of any rules laid down by either the DDA or the Delhi Government, schools are exploiting the situation d, Aggarwal said ( Source:The Pioneer,January 21,2004 ) 4 Das, 2004.<br><br> 5 Naveen, 8Regulation for 25 per cent freeship to poor students lands in soup 9, blog.ccsindia.org/mt/archives/2004/09/regulations_in.html, posted on 15/09/04. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY The broad objective of the study is to provide an overview of the impact of the order of the Delhi government in recognised private, un-aided schools in Delhi. An attempt has been made to look at the interventions of the ISST Community Centre 6 in East Delhi , as well as to explore the experiences and perspectives of the children who have been admitted under this scheme and the experiences and perspectives of their parents, teachers, and principals.<br><br> * SCOPE OF THE STUDY The scope of the study extends to six schools in East Delhi - four private, un-aided schools (where children have been admitted under the scheme with the help of ISST personnel) and two government schools of the same area. METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY Semi-structured discussions and interviews were held with ISST Community Centre staff; mothers of the children who have been admitted under the scheme; teachers of private and government schools and also school principals. Case studies of the four children (out of the nine helped with their admissions by ISST Community Centre) have been done in an attempt to look at and understand the children 9s perspectives on the entire issue, keeping in mind that these may be distinct from their parents, teachers and principals.<br><br> LITERATURE REVIEW A review of the literature on the issue of education of poor children living in slums in urban areas suggests that the poor largely send their children to government schools rather than private schools. This is particularly true of Delhi where, according to Chugh, the urban poor cannot make use of private schools as there exists a 8social distance 9 * Names and designations (of schools; interviewed government officials; ISST staff; parents; students) have been changed /omitted for reasons of maintaining confidentiality in the study. 6 The ISST Community Centre, alongwith its programmes for income-generation activities for women is also providing non-formal and supportive education for school going and non-school going children in East Delhi.<br><br> For the past one year a computer programme has been implemented which aims at providing basic computer education to slum children and their facilitators. The number of children registered under the programme varies from time to time due to a number of reasons. One of them is their formal school timing as some of them attend morning shift and some attend evening shifts in government school.<br><br> Apart from this, some of them work with their parents after school, especially girls. ISST has started the process of conducting a baseline survey to understand the most workable timings in order to motivate people to send their children to the Centre. (Source: http://www.isst-india.org/Outreach_FccCommC.htm).<br><br> 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 4 between them and other children (cites PROBE , 1999 7 ). Moreover, she says that it is not possible for them to bear the high cost of education this entails considering their income level. It becomes even more difficult, she says, when there is more than one school- going child in a household.<br><br> It is for all these reasons that the urban poor are, thus, forced to patronize government schools. 8 According to Kaul, for people cbelow a certain threshold level, eking out an existence becomes a crucial issue, while above a certain threshold level, other factors like an unattractive school and lack of adequate facilities were also significant in children not attending schools d. 9 A review of existing literature suggests that people from the economically marginalized sections of society living in slum areas generally face numerous problems in getting their children admitted to private schools (as compared to government schools) in the city.<br><br> The situation, following the implementation of the scheme providing 20-25 per cent reservation in private schools to children from the economically marginalized sections, does not seem to have made things any easier for them however. A newspaper report filed by Kumar, for instance, refers to problems faced by parents in getting their children admitted to private schools all over Delhi. In the first week of May 2004 , Kumar states, as many as 200 applications were submitted to private schools in just one area of Delhi called Bara Hindu Rao and cno school was entertaining them d.<br><br> She refers to attempts by a parent who tried to submit applications of five children to five nearby private schools and who was cturned away d under the guise of several vague excuses like for example, Springdales School, Pusa Road, seems to have said that cadmissions were shut d and St Thomas School seems to have said that there were cno vacancies d. At St Michael 9s and Bal Bharti schools, it seems, she was not even allowed to enter the school premises and at Presentation Convent she was told that admissions cwere closed d. In East Delhi, a parent submitted applications from her area at Bharti Private School, Kondli; Salwan Private School and Evergreen School cbut had no luck d.<br><br> Kumar reports that Mahesh, a peon, who draws a salary of Rs 2000, was told that there were no vacancies at ASN Private Schools in Mayur Vihar Phase I. Noor Mohammad, who lives in a resettlement colony along Hastsal said, cI visited Columbia Private School in Vikaspuri, but they said they could do nothing d. 10 It must be pointed out here that there is a lack of available literature on the subject.<br><br> SOCIO-ECONOMIC & EDUCATIONAL PROFILE OF SONIA CAMP (VINOD NAGAR) 7 PROBE is the Public Report on Basic Education for India. It was supported by the Center for Development Economics and published in 1999 by Oxford University Press http://www.oup.com . 8 Chugh, Sunita, and 2004: 84.<br><br> 9 Kaul,2001:157. 10 cited by Kumar, 2004. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 5 A low-income slum area called Sonia Camp (also called 8 Harijan Basti 8 11 ) in East Delhi was selected for this study.<br><br> Sonia Camp is situated alongside the Shakurpur railway line, adjacent to a Gujjar village. Like any other slum in Delhi, Sonia Camp also suffers from abysmal conditions of sanitation, health and of course, education. Delinquency in different forms is responsible for creating negative role-models for children, especially boys.<br><br> Most of the male residents fall into the category of casual wage workers (daily wages) and have meager incomes .They work in factories, on construction sites or do white- washing jobs and help others in selling small articles. Some are rickshaw-pullers (rickshaw taken on rent and not owned), or vegetable sellers. The women mostly work as domestic maids and take in home-based work such as sap- sorting which is tedious, back-breaking work and poorly paid.<br><br> The income of the women seems to be contributing to the running of the family household, rather than that of their spouses. The women, however, seem to be facing domestic violence at home with husbands given to gambling, alcoholism and wife-battery. In this scenario of poverty, insecurity and vulnerability, the decision to make attempts to get their children admitted to expensive, chigh quality d, private schools, thus, was a big decision given their fragile means of earning their livelihood as also their low expectations in life.<br><br> The BPL (below poverty line) families in Sonia Camp mainly send their children to government schools in the neighbourhood. Those families which are a little better-off send their children to one of the many 8English-medium 9, private schools in the vicinity. The implications of this order of the Delhi government means that even the BPL families can now think of getting their children admitted to the 8high quality 9, private schools in the neighboring area of Lakshmi Nagar, Preet Vihar and Vinod Nagar.<br><br> The government order means that these people can also now think of getting their children admitted in private schools, which formerly, was an unthinkable dream. ISST INTERVENTIONS IN SONIA CAMP ISST Community Centre interventions in Sonia Camp in this regard may be summed up as: A) Counselling Parents ISST staff first began trying to counsel and encourage parents in the community to think about the prospect of getting their children admitted to better schools and to have higher aspirations for their children 9s future (rather than letting them drop-out of school and 11 This area is known as 8 Harijan Basti 9 as the residents who initially stayed in the camp were predominantly from backward classes. More recent entrants have included upper caste Hindu and Muslim families.<br><br> Most are from villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (Sudarshan & Bhattacharya, 2004:4). 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 6 pushing them into low -end jobs). Such counselling was required, according to the staff as for the BPL families to allow their children to complete their X standard from a government school, where education is largely free, is in itself a struggle, especially in the case of girl children.<br><br> Future expectations are low given their existing reality, and counselling was therefore, much needed in order to encourage parents to approach the schools for their children 9s admission. ISST field staff had to keep up motivation and confidence levels (through reassurance on field visits) when initial attempts to get their children admitted to the schools were not entertained by the school authorities. B) School Admissions i) Problems in acquiring Income Certificates The initial visit of the ISST staff and the parents to the concerned official 9s office in the Preet Vihar area in order to get income certificates issued resulted in failure.<br><br> The applications submitted stated the monthly incomes as Rs 1,800-2,200. The, concerned officer, however, refused to process the certificates on the grounds that cnobody survives in Delhi today in less than Rs 5000 d. He further stated that csuch low incomes were being misquoted when he was fully aware that every evening these slum dwellers drank alcohol worth Rs 2000 d.<br><br> He also laid down a condition that he would 8consider 9 the applications only if the monthly income was quoted as Rs.3, 500. The attempt to reason with this official on the ground that these families were BPL card holders and that the Delhi government has distributed 4 lakh BPL cards to such families all over Delhi, whose annual income is 24,000 or less, also failed because he said, cI don 9t know how they have got BPL cards. I am fully aware that these people spend Rs.2000 everyday on alcohol alone. d Teachers from ISST, too, had to suffer ridicule in the office.<br><br> They were referred to as c netas walking around with cell phones quoting such low incomes! d Matters came to a head, finally, with the official being told categorically that he was being unreasonable and that if he refrained from taking the matter forward, the matter could be taken up with the Deputy Commissioner as well as the Education Minister and the Chief Minister. It was only under threat of such dire consequences that the concerned official seems to have suddenly relented and agreed to process the applications for income certificates. This was followed by ISST writing to the Education Minister and the Chief Minister with the request that cdirections be issued to the SDMs of all districts to accept applications by parents of under-privileged children requesting income certificates for availing of the 20 per cent quota and not misguiding people in ways that can prevent underprivileged children from availing of the opportunities provided by court orders d.<br><br> 12 12 See Annexure: copies of letters to Education Minister and Chief Minister, Delhi Government dated 21- 02-05 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 7 This problem of issuing income certificates to genuine cases is a serious one and needs careful consideration. It is significant that ISST personnel themselves faced such harassment in getting the income certificates issued and it can only be surmised as to the immense problems that may be encountered by illiterate and poor parents (without the support of NGOs like ISST) who try to approach government machinery on their own. ii) Reluctance of schools to admit children Once the income certificates were issued, the next hurdle that had to be faced was the resentment and refusal of private, un-aided schools to admit children under this quota.<br><br> ISST personnel had to make repeated visits to schools in the neighbourhood (with parents not even being allowed to enter school premises) to request the school authorities to admit children belonging to BPL families. Initial requests were met with responses such as, call seats have been filled d; cWe don 9t take government school and slum children d etc. What was particularly shocking was the prejudiced mindsets of school principals towards children of slum dwellers.<br><br> A letter 13 written by ISST staff (who tried to convince the school authorities to admit the children) to the Deputy Education Director is particularly illuminating in this regard as it contains excerpts of the conversation with one principal who expressly stated that children from the slum areas are ccriminals d; that they use cabusive language d ( c slum area ke bachche criminal hote hain, ve gaaliyan dete hain.. . d). He seems to have further strengthened his contention with reference to an incident where a fight had ensued between two children over some eatable which finally resulted in the child from the slum stabbing the other child in the back with a compass.<br><br> This incident, he stated, proved that the child from the slum will grow up to be a criminal. ( c Woh criminal hee banega..! d) The same principal gave another example where the son of a security guard 8failed 9 in the standard I.<br><br> He was apparently 8passed 9 but again 8failed 9 the II standard. The boy was given 8grace marks 9 but then his father turned up and with folded hands requested the principal to remove his child 9s name from the school register. The reason he gave was the growing 8distance 9 between father and son since he had joined the private school and the 8hatred 9 that the child now felt for his father.<br><br> The principal stated that the son now 8looked down 9 upon the father saying that, c Tum jhuggi mein rehte ho...Tumne apne jeevan mein kya kiya. .? d ( cYou stay in a slum. What have you done in your life?) The father told the principal that he could no longer bear to see this.<br><br> The principal also seems to have said that cif the government was so much worried about these children, then it should improve its own schools rather than 8troubling 9 them! d He also made the claim that they were spending more money than the government was, on these children and that the quota would only increase the burden on the parents of 13 See Annexure: copy of letter by ISST staff to Deputy Education Director, Department of Education, North Delhi dated: 16/03/05 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 8 the other children because in order to satisfy the quota the school would be forced to increase the fees. Many other radical suggestions seem to have been advocated by the same person who felt that cneither the government nor the NGOs are doing any work&Both are 8useless 9& if they really want to do some work they should first stop population growth. d And further that cChildren of people who have more than two children should not be admitted in schools, at all. d He also felt that the schools take admissions only in nursery so that the children can be cmoulded according to them d ( c... Taaki bachcon ko apne anurup dhaal sakein ... d).<br><br> He, therefore, refused to admit children in classes other than nursery as he stated that there were no seats available. It was only when ISST staff filed for information on the basis of the Right to Information Act, 2001 and after subsequent hearings (also including action from the Public Grievance Cell) that information was released 14 by the school authorities. Since there were seats which were vacant, children had to be eventually admitted.<br><br> The long drawn-out procedure with bureaucratic hassles and prejudiced mindsets of the bureaucracy as well as the school authorities towards children of the poor which ails the admission process has to be addressed if the scheme is to benefit the targeted groups and achieve any measure of success. iii) Negotiations with School Authorities for 8Concessions 9 Once access to the schools was achieved, to ensure retention, ISST had to make several attempts to convince the school authorities to provide as much 8concession 9 with regard to expenses on uniforms, books etc., to the underprivileged children, as possible. This is because in the absence of clearly spelt-out directives 15 by the Delhi Government, the multiple 8hidden costs 9 with regard to uniform, books, transport, even for school excursions/ picnics etc., create immense burden on poor parents, thus defeating the very purpose of the order.<br><br> The money to be paid for these multiple heads seems to be determined by the whims and fancies of the school authorities. It is already proving to be backbreaking for those whose children have been admitted. This can also be one of the factors forcing parents, in the long run, to withdraw their children from these schools.<br><br> The importance of clearly spelt-out directives, in this regard, therefore, cannot be stressed enough if retention of these children is to be ensured. ISST 9s endeavors have seen positive results in this regard. While one school has provided 50 per cent discount on uniform and books, another has teachers who have 14 See Annexure: copies of application form along with list of vacant seats in schools released after the former was filed.<br><br> 15 The Directorate of Education, Government of N.C.T of Delhi 9s order (dated 27-04-04) states, among other things, that call schools will grant 20 per cent freeship (which includes tuition fees, PTA or any other fees/funds/charges of any kind related to teaching-learning) to the children of the weaker sections of society w.e.f.1 st of May, 2004 d( See Annexure copy of Order of Directorate of Education, Government of N.C.T of Delhi No: PS/DE/2004/10496-11595 dated 27-04-04) . 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 9 collected old uniforms from students and given them to needy students. A third school has agreed to provide 25 per cent discount (with the money to be paid in installments).<br><br> But there are still others who have refused to provide any such 8concessions 9 at all. ISST Community Centre staff , along with constantly negotiating with the school authorities to provide concessions with regard to these necessary expenses, has also pitched in to help parents by offering to pay a part of the expenses. To make the scheme sustainable in the long run, however, advocacy for clearly formulated and spelt-out directives seems to be required.<br><br> PERCEPTIONS OF THE CHILDREN An attempt was made in the study to interview four children who were admitted under the scheme to private schools in 2005 with the help of ISST personnel. The attempt was to look at and explore children 9s perspectives on the issue and to discern differences, if any, from adult perspectives. All the children interviewed in the study (studying in standard II, III, IV and XII) were of the opinion that they liked the new schools and wanted to continue their studies there.<br><br> The reasons given for 8liking 9 the school were poignant and basic ones, for instance, c yahan padhai hoti hai d ( c we study here d); c yahan teacher kaam dene ke baad staff 3 room nehi jaate hain d( cHere teachers don 9t go away to the staff-room after giving us work d); c yahan teacher dande se nehi marte /gaaliyan nehi dete, homework dete hain d (Teachers here don 9t beat us up with sticks, don 9t abuse use, they give us homework); c yahan ache toilets hain, peene ka paani hain, science laboratory hai d( cHere there are good toilets, drinking water and science laboratory d). In terms of adjusting in a new socio-cultural environment with children belonging to the upper and middle classes of society, there do not seem to be many adjustment problems. They, however, seem to clearly differentiate between the two different classes of friends they now have 3 the ones living in the slum who use bad language and fight most of the time and the ones in the new school who are 8better 9 as they don 9t use bad language or fight like the former group.<br><br> There seems to be acceptance of the fact that they have been admitted to 8good 9 schools and they should strive to do well here. The children, who were interviewed, did not claim to be subjected to any discrimination in the classroom by teachers or peers but seemed to have adjusted to their new surrounding. One major problem that was identified, however, was that of low levels of understanding and academic performance due to transition from Hindi medium to English medium schools.<br><br> They seemed to be facing this problem but seemed very shy and hesitant to approach the teachers in this regard. It is important therefore that supportive classes be provided to these students and this is something that was found to be missing in all the schools that were visited during the course of this study. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 10 The reason why these children felt shy and hesitant about seeking clarification of their queries from the teachers seems to be due to social distance and is also something that needs to be further studied.<br><br> Perceptions of Children of Private Schools Perceptions of children of private schools also needs to be explored as the reservation of seats and admission of children who belong to a different socio-economic and cultural background is likely to bring about a change in the composition and environment of the classrooms within these schools which would of course impact all students. While the study does not include interviews of this group of children, the importance of looking at their perspectives and viewpoints cannot be disregarded. Reference here can be made to views of a student of Doon School, a prestigious private school, who raises concerns of children studying in such schools in the country in this regard.<br><br> According to the student, this mechanism cannot be said to be providing cequal opportunities for all d as ca staggering 150 out of 600 students will walk in, virtually without any true test of their abilities d in their school. He states that, cpassing the Doon School entrance means that you have proved yourself worthy of the school. Reserving seats for students seems to imply that the school must prove itself worthy of you d.<br><br> Adding to his list of concerns and grievances, he says, cHow can we pursue the system 9s goal of training potential leaders when one-fourth of us have been granted a prize that others struggle to earn? d The student also addresses the concern of burden of the likely increase in fees to be shouldered by parents of the cother three-fourths&the middle-class that ceither way has to foot the bills of the government 9s charitable and bounteous gesture d. The student sees this as a cblatant attempt (of the government) to solicit votes d. He raises the question as to cwhy the government doesn 9t instead try to improve the standards of government-owned schools rather than foist these students on unwilling institutions d 16 .<br><br> A survey of the Doon School students suggests while 44 per cent of the students support the proposed bill, a majority of students i.e. 56 per cent do not support the proposed reservation in private schools in the country. 17 Perceptions of children studying in private schools in other parts of the country, therefore, also need to be explored to understand the problems that they seem to be facing and the reservations that they have with regard to the proposed legislation, which, if passed, would also impact on their lives in a number of ways.<br><br> 16 Kuthiala, Tushar, 8&Two Steps Back 9, The Doon School Weekly, March 19, 2005, http://www.doonschool.com/m2080/. 17 Ibid. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 11 PERCEPTIONS OF THE TEACHERS and PRINCIPALS (PRIVATE AND GOVERNMENT) A) Private School Teachers and Principals: Interviews with teachers and principals were very difficult to conduct as in all the four schools looked at in the study, the principal / school chairman seemed to be very reluctant to allow this.<br><br> While in two schools, the request for interviews with teachers was met with outright rejection, in one school, the principal 8asked 9 the teacher to stay in the same room to give her views to the interviewer, almost dictating the answers to the questions asked. She also turned down the request for interviews with other teachers on grounds that call the teachers have views similar to hers and so what was the need? d The chairman of the fourth school, on the other hand, agreed to be interviewed himself but used some pretext or the other to deny the interviews on two other occasions. Prevalence of Stereotypical Mindsets and Resultant Attitudes All the school principals and a few of the teachers who were interviewed, echoed views which strongly seems to suggest that they posses stereotypical mindsets where school performance and classroom behavior of economically marginalized children is concerned.<br><br> A lack of empathy for the children and their differential learning requirements and living conditions could be clearly seen. One school principal, of a private school, referred to negative perceptions resulting in many of these children. She stated that these children do not possess the right environment at home or 8home status 9 to enable them to perform well in school; that they are weak in studies and continue to remain thus ( c Weak hain toh weak hi rehte hain d); they don 9t do homework (as they don 9t get any help from their parents).<br><br> They also tend to suffer from 8inferiority complexes 9 (when exposed to an environment where children from the better-off classes possess things like fancy 8instrument boxes 9 and even mobile phones ; with the parents of the latter distributing gifts to all students on their birthday etc.,) and (could) take to 8stealing 9. The principal, further went on to paint a very dark picture (of the result of such 8integrationist policies) where the inferiority complex poor children develop in school vitiates their home atmosphere with their demanding similar things from their parents, which will lead, she felt, to parents trying to fulfill their children 9s desires 8at whatever cost 9 i.e. stealing; robbery etc!<br><br> One of the school teachers, however, did admit to the existence of 8levels of variation 9 in terms of academic performance in school amongst these children (with some performing better than the rest). Another teacher, teaching students of standard I, said that she had faced cno problems teaching these children d. She stated that call children are the same, if these children sometimes face problems in catching up with what is taught in class, so do children belonging to better-off classes d.<br><br> She believed that even though these children might lack parental support, they can pick up, especially when they start off young. d 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 12 Attempts to talk to another teacher in one of the schools was met with scared responses, like, cI have been teaching here since the past seventeen years and we are told not to talk to strangers about the school&we can talk only after the principal permits us to do so d. Situational Constraints Faced by School Authorities-- Teachers & Principals The reluctance of the school authorities to implement the government order cannot be denied, alongwith the stereotypical mindsets that also characterize the attitude towards children of the economically marginalized sections of society. At the same time, however, one also has to recognize the actual problems in implementation that the private schools are facing for instance, the problem of meeting expenses over and above the tuition fees; problems of streamlining students into the schools etc.<br><br> There are also problems that teachers are facing and might face in the future as regards actual classroom situations while handling children from diverse, socio-economic and educational backgrounds and the need for capacity-building, counselling and training programmes for them to enable them to deal with these problems in an efficient manner. B) Government School Teachers and Principals Prevalence of Stereotypical Mindsets and Resultant Attitudes Government school teachers (interviewed in two schools of the area), much like the private school teachers, too seem to be largely apathetic and lack empathy for the children and their differential learning requirements and living conditions. The attitudes and actions of many of these teachers seemed to have an element of resentment and disdain towards the children.<br><br> Many of them expressed both indirectly as well as directly their assessment and evaluation of students from poor families as failing to do well in studies because of their chome environment d. They said that most such families have a chand-to-mouth existence d with the parents being largely illiterate and not finding the time to devote towards their children 9s education (not coming to see teachers to enquire about their child 9s progress etc), it is this lack of a supportive home environment, according to them, that is responsible for the low level of school performance of such children. While it was accepted by the teachers that a child 9s school performance is also dependant upon a supportive school environment, they stated that there was cno spirit of competition d amongst children of the government schools as also motivation to cdo well, dress better, stay clean and tidy d etc., since all of them came from similar backgrounds and were the csame d.<br><br> The attitude was that the children themselves are to be blamed for their cweakness d in studies. There is no understanding of the fact these children are first-generation learners and have differential learning as well as social or emotional needs. Instead of providing additional academic support for instance, extra classes after school; counselling or any other form of support; corporal punishment seemed to be freely used in the classroom.<br><br> This view is supported by interviews held with children from government school backgrounds. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 13 Most teachers responded by supporting this order on the grounds that the children will 8benefit 9 from the physical infrastructure of these schools (school building, labs, play- ground etc.) c Suvidhayen milengi d or cthey 9ll get facilities d that are not available to them in government schools. One of the teachers also felt that it would give rise to a ccompetitive spirit d amongst these children who, according to him, feel the lack of competition in the government schools.<br><br> All of them come from socially and economically disadvantaged classes and therefore behave accordingly (are 8dirty 9, 8dress untidily 9, 8behave badly 9, 8perform badly 9 (except for a few). Admission to private schools, he felt, will encourage them to perform well in class, to dress well and to behave well. They will get a chance to 8become better 9 in private schools.<br><br> One of the teachers alleged that children who have been admitted under this scheme are being subjected to discriminatory practices in some schools. He refused to name the school but said that in some schools, children are being made to sit in separate classrooms, so that other children (from privileged backgrounds) do not pick up their dirty, slovenly habits ( c unke baal lambe hotein hain, woh gande hotein hai . or cThey have long hair, they are dirty. d) Teachers in a government school in the nearby area of Mandawali, near Sonia Camp,East Delhi believed that a favorable student-teacher rapport exists in government schools with teachers understanding the family situation and living conditions of the students and the students 8openly 9 talking to them about their problems.<br><br> Such teacher- student rapport, they believed, is not possible in private schools because the teacher cannot relate to their problems and students will also be hesitant to share their problems. They also felt (as in case of private school teachers) that inferiority complex can occur amongst children admitted to private schools. The general perception amongst government school teachers was also that their quality of teaching is higher than private schools, cwe focus upon the children understanding what is taught to them rather than on completion of the syllabus d.<br><br> Children, therefore, could face a problem, they believed, in terms of the fast pace of studies in private schools. They also felt convinced that better teacher-student ratios exist in government schools and therefore it was not possible for the teacher in private schools to devote adequate time and attention to every student. But this is possible in a government school.<br><br> One of the government school teachers actively advocated the cause of the 8common school system 9 regarding it as the ideal system which should be established rather than measures such as these to bring about integration of all sections of the society. Government school teachers were in favour of measures to be taken by the government to improve the quality and conditions of government schools, in preference to enforcing this scheme. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 14 PERCEPTIONS OF PARENTS i) Demand for Private Schools The interviews suggest that even illiterate BPL parents are well aware of the advantages of education and are ready to support any/ all initiatives which can enable their children to achieve a higher quality of education.<br><br> This study, therefore, seems to reiterate findings of related studies, for instance, Banerji, also refers to private schools mushrooming even in low -income colonies in Indian cities because cpoor parents feel that the child will learn something in a private school and so take on the additional expenditure involved d. 18 It is apparent that parents are more than ready to suffer hardships and to pitch in (along with ISST as also individual schools 9 initiatives), to the extent possible, in order to get their children educated in private schools. Private schools are preferred over government schools as they are regarded as schools where actual teaching takes place and where there is a serious atmosphere and discipline is maintained.<br><br> Private schools also tend to be seen, with their impressive building and physical infrastructures as a mark of social privilege. Private schools are also preferred as they teach English and this will, it is believed, help in getting 8good 9 jobs. This study reiterates the fact, therefore, that even the poorest of the poor aspire for quality education for their children.<br><br> Research in this area states that, 9 per cent of boys and 5 per cent of girls enrolled in Delhi slums attend PUA schools. 19 Similarly, it is stated that cwhat is incredible are the absolute [low] levels of income at which demand for private schooling exists. It is incredible because government schools are virtually free.<br><br> d 20 It has been observed that cteachers 9 sincerity, interest and involvement d in government schools tends to be questioned by parents. 21 A common complaint against teachers in government schools is that they seem to be more interested in their personal work and do not take their job seriously because they are not accountable to anyone. Private school teachers, on the other hand, are considered to be accountable to students and parents because their jobs are not permanent.<br><br> The lack of disciple as also teaching of English is also perceived as a major drawback in government schools. ii) Future Apprehensions 18 Banerji, 2000:798. 19 Nautiyal, 1999 cited by Kingdon.<br><br> 20 Chadha and Singh, 1988 cited by Kingdon. 21 Jha and Jhingran ,2002. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 15 One common complaint with private schools was that these tend to be expensive even with the 20-25 per cent freeships being provided because the parents still have to bear expenses of school uniform, books, school bag, stationery as well as transportation costs and most importantly, private tuition (considered as 8necessary 9 with the child unable to cope with the new pace of teaching).<br><br> Hidden costs like school picnics or field trips also cannot be ignored. iii) Gender Bias Examples of a gender bias, however, with the boy being sent to the private school and the girl to the government school were also noted. Studies such as Banerji 9s refer to this phenomenon.<br><br> Banerji , in her study of the urban poor in Delhi states that cone of the complicated strategies to optimize schooling given the limited options available, is to send the sons to a private school and the daughters to the local municipal school. d 22 Another study by Anuradha De, Claire Noronha and Meera Samson (of districts in Haryana, U.P and Rajasthan) also refers to the prevalence of gender bias and the same phenomenon of boys being sent to private schools and girls being to government schools (if at all, especially in the poorest regions 23 ). While more in-depth study is required to explore the gender dimension, the field work suggests that preference is being given largely to boys (as compared to girls) in families struggling for their admission to private schools.<br><br> Vikas, one of the students interviewed in this study, who was admitted to standard IV in a private school with ISST 9s active intervention and who has three sisters and one younger brother, is a case in point. Both the sisters are in government schools, one in the XI standard and the second one in the VII standard while the younger brother is also studying in a private school (though not at par with Vikas 9s school). Vikas 9s mother, when interviewed, stated that she had not been very keen on letting her elder daughter, Rekha, continue her studies beyond X standard but had finally decided to given in to her daughter 9s desire to study further.<br><br> Rekha, it seems, is a very bright student but, as things stand, she will be allowed to continue with her studies only till XII standard. The family has financial difficulties and Rekha is required to take on domestic responsibilities (which she seems to hate doing!) Vikas 9s mother made it very clear that the decision to enable Rekha to study till XII standard, is in itself, a major decision and 8concession 9 that has been granted to her. There seems to be 8no need 9 for Rekha to be admitted to a private school (despite her being good in studies) as the decision for her future (she will have to drop-out after XII standard) has already been taken.<br><br> The girls 9 wishes in this case do not count for anything. Getting the son of the family admitted to a private school, despite financial hardships seems to be done as the same is regarded as an 8investment for the future 9 (will get a good job and will take care of parents). However, no specific attempt seems to be made 22 Banerji, 2000: 798.<br><br> 23 Anuradha De, Claire Noronha and Meera Samson, 2002: 5233. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 16 for the daughters of the family (especially if the number of siblings is large) for the daughter will one day have to be married off and will go away. QUESTIONING THE OBJECTIVE OF THE POLICY Before looking at the implementation of the scheme (and whether it has met its targets), an attempt needs to be made to look at its stated objectives.<br><br> The major objectives can be summed up in terms of the following questions: i) Is it social obligation to the poor? The NGO 8Social Jurist 9 which filed the PIL in the Delhi High Court last year highlighted the fact that one of the objectives behind the granting of private lands on throwaway prices to more than 1500 un-aided recognised private schools in Delhi was that schools discharge their csocial obligation d to provide free education to a certain percentage of the children of the poor through their schools. Social obligation of the private schools catering to the educational needs of the economically privileged classes towards children of the poor, was therefore one of the objectives of the order.<br><br> ii) Is it 8punishment 9? The petitioners stated that all these un-aided recognised private schools in Delhi are violating the conditions of land allotment as no school is providing free education to the children of the poor. It also stated that the public authorities have not taken any action against the erring schools for failure on their part to comply with the terms and conditions of land allotment.<br><br> The question that arises is whether this notification is, therefore, simply aimed at 8punishing 9 the schools which had violated rules in this regard and make them pay up. This aspect becomes especially important in view of the fact that a large number of private schools in Delhi, which had struck a deal with the state government at the time of acquiring land, are now playing the 8victim 9. 24 These schools had also lodged an appeal challenging the government 8diktat 9 that was subsequently dismissed by the Supreme Court.<br><br> iii) Is it aimed at ensuring equity and equality in education? "This was done in order to promote integration of rich and poor sections of society and to drive home the fact that an educational institution has a social obligation to fulfill," says lawyer Ashok Aggarwal, who was part of the group that filed a PIL on this matter in the Delhi High Court in 2002. 24 http://www.hindustan times.com/news/623_0, 0012.htm 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 17 The PIL added that the growth of private schools has widened the gulf between the classes and masses, which is opposed to the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India.<br><br> The provision of free education to the children of the poor as stipulated in the allotment of land letters, it stated, if implemented, will go a long way towards achieving the goals set out in the Constitution. The PIL refers to the Kothari Commission (1964-66) Report which refers to the concept of the 8Common School 9. cIn a situation of the type we have in India, it is the responsibility of the educational system to bring the different social classes and groups together and thus promote the emergence of an egalitarian and integrated society.<br><br> But at present instead of doing so, education itself is tending to increase social segregation and to perpetuate and widen class distinctions. There is, thus, segregation in education itself 3 the minority of private, fee charging, better schools meeting the needs of the upper classes and vast bulk of free, privately maintained, but poor schools being utilized by the rest. What is worse, this segregation is increasing and tending to widen the gulf between the classes and the masses d.<br><br> The PIL, therefore, regards the implementation of the order as leading to equity and equality in education. iv) Is it extension of the Right of free and compulsory education? The petitioner submitted that Law Commission of India in its 165th report on free and compulsory education for children deals with the question of free education to the children of the poor in private schools.<br><br> It proposed cFree and Compulsory Education for Children Bill, 1998 d in Section 12 of the said Bill. The petitioner, further, submitted that every child of this country has a fundamental right to receive free and compulsory education up to 14 years and in case of child with a disability up to 18 years and this right is an independent right of the child and does not depend on the economic and other status of his/ her parents. Reference was made to Article 51A of the Constitution of India, which states that, it is the duty of every citizen cto strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement d.<br><br> It also referred to the Delhi School Education Act, 1973 which provides for free education up to 14 years of age and Person with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 which provides free education to the children with disabilities up to 18 years. The petitioners finally stated that all un-aided recognized private schools in Delhi irrespective of the fact whether public land has been allotted to them or not, should provide free education to the children of the poor to the extent of 25 per cent as a part of their social and moral duty towards the children of the poor, especially when such schools have been given public land at throwaway prices. And that further if they fail to do so the public authorities are legally bound to take action against such erring schools.<br><br> 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 18 It was also seen as an extension of the idea of promoting free and compulsory education in the country. v) Combination of social, moral and legal obligations A combination of the above objectives shows that a combination of social, moral and legal obligations influenced the government order. The question that now arises is whether these objectives have been met since the implementation of the court order and government notification of the same.<br><br> IS 8INTEGRATION 9 REALLY HAPPENING? As stated earlier, parents of children belonging to the economically marginalized sections of the society are being unduly harassed by school authorities and are facing a lot of problems in getting their children admitted to these schools, despite the state government 9s directives. Shantha Sinha, member, CABE Committee states, in the context of free and compulsory education in the country ,that a chidden apartheid d is being practiced by these schools by cresisting the idea of keeping aside 25 per cent seats for economically-backward children from their neighbourhood d.<br><br> She further states that cthese schools must realize that such attitudes encourage social disparities and they themselves inadvertently become instruments of hidden apartheid d. Private schools, she says, have a chistorical task to perform and they must give children from all economic backgrounds access to their institutions d. 25 At the same time, however, actual problems faced by private schools in the implementation of the government order also need to be taken cognizance of as they are roadblocks which hamper the efficient implementation of the scheme.<br><br> Constraints faced by Private Schools and Suggested 8Alternatives 9 Representatives of private schools seem to have expressed a range of reactions 3 opposition, doubt, worry, reluctant acceptance. Questions have been raised, like, Who will pay the cost of free education? Do we ask parents of those students who pay fees to undertake this burden?<br><br> And more importantly, where do we go looking for these children? Or cwhile the inclusionary policy is good, governments may have to subsidize private schools in order to achieve the target of free education for 20-25 per cent students d. 26 Some of the initial responses of private schools to the government order last year suggest an outright denial of admission on grounds of 8non-availability of seats 8etc.<br><br> Presentation Convent 9s Sister Rosamma seems to have admitted that cthey were not ready. The main school is already giving a Rs 13 lakh concession and freeship. 25 Sinha, 2005.<br><br> 26 Das, Outlook, May 10, 2004. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 19 Separately, we are teaching 120 students free. This order has put us in a fix--admissions were over in January.<br><br> d 27 Assisting Officer, Columbia Private School, R.C. Verma states, cWe already have a system of 10 per cent free seats and 20 per cent at half the rate. Every body wants to come here now --we cannot accommodate them.<br><br> d 28 This host of objections to the scheme includes views of principals stating that, it is cnot fair d to these children as they are cunable to follow what is being taught as the standard of their school is very high d. That cassimilation d will never happen, given the differences in cfamily backgrounds d; that inability to do well in school is an cinherited trait d that children receive from their parents d. Another issue that private schools have complained against is the apparent cmisuse d of the order, with people from economically better-off families also 8acquiring 9 income certificates and forcing them to admit their children.<br><br> Most of the schools alleged that people cwith cars and mobile phones d have come for admission of their children and they have been unable to refuse because of the order. One view of this sense of resentment that school authorities seem to have is said to stem from the fact that the clocal government cis riding piggy-back on the success of private institutions. Das states that while the ideal system would have been a mix of state-run and private schools that offer a uniform standard of education, private schools have become the reluctant heroes of progressive action.<br><br> d 29 With the quotas being forced on the schools, there is considerable resentment in complete opposition to the government 9s desire to promote integration. The mechanism has also been regarded as a cfaçade d to hide the real problem, i.e. the lack of proper functioning of government schools in the country.<br><br> 30 There seems to be, thus, an overall sense of disgruntlement and resentment towards the government directive. Schools tend to feign 8cooperation 9 with the government authorities in implementing the court order stating that they have cno problems d as such with children of the poor coming to their schools and availing the freeship scheme. They state that they 8support 9 the order, so long as the benefit of marginalized children is concerned as they 9ll get the chance to study ( c padh jaayenge d) and to improve their lives ( c Life ban rahi hai d).<br><br> However, a deeper exploration of the issue brings forth the problems that the principals feel will result because of the scheme and which need to be addressed if the order is to be implemented to benefit these disadvantaged children. 27 cited by Kumar, 2004. 28 Ibid.<br><br> 29 Das, Outlook, May 10, 2004. 30 Naveen, 8Regulation for 25 per cent freeship to poor students lands in soup 9, blog.ccsindia.org/mt/archives/2004/09/regulations_in.html,posted on 15/09/04. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 20 S.L.Jain, principal, Mahavir Senior Model School (and also coordinator, Action Committee Un-aided Recognised Private Schools) identify many problems in the implementation of the SC ruling and find streamlining of students from economically weaker sections very difficult.<br><br> Jain, states that cfirstly, these students are used to Hindi- medium education and it is very difficult for them to switch to studying in English. Secondly, there are bound to be problems in meeting expenses over and above the tuition fees. Even if we waive off their tuition fees, who will account for their uniform, stationery and other school expenses.<br><br> Thirdly they have no parental support in any aspect and the requisite environment at home is utterly lacking. Moreover, children are very sensitive and dealing with the psychological stress of being in the same class with other, financially better-off students can be very difficult. d 31 With regard to the expenses involved, Jain states that he has cno problems in waving off the tuition fee of some selected students&but the government is silent on who is going to make up for the deficit. Neither can I charge more from the parents of the fee-paying students nor is the government giving us special funds.<br><br> Are we expected to run in loss? d queries Jain. As for why this aspect did not strike the private schools while making the deal with the government, he explains that, cthe process of acquiring the land from the government was predictably monopolistic. We were not given a chance to negotiate or bargain.<br><br> We had no choice but to sign on the dotted line. However, now as the implications become apparent we want things to be debated; we want a forum, a platform d. According to Jain, the term cconcessional rate d is a cmisnomer d, and that the private schools got lands at an cinstitutional rate which was slightly less than the market rate but exorbitant nevertheless.<br><br> d 32 Several of the above concerns of private schools needs to be looked at and probable solutions need to be worked out. Suggested Alternatives An 8alternative 9 that was suggested by the principal of one of the schools in the study , was to continue the earlier system of cafternoon schools d (classes held within the school premises in the afternoon shift for children from the economically marginalized sections of society) as a cbetter system d where the children of the poor from similar family and socio-cultural backgrounds can study together and therefore, cadjust d well. The principal of a private school advocated the continuance of the afternoon school that he runs in the second shift in his school premises (as against the quota scheme) stating that this cparallel school d provides similar school facilities to the children and allows them to cfeel comfortable d.<br><br> This is important, as he feels that to admit them to similar classes as children from privileged families will produce inferiority complexes amongst the children. c Inferiority complex ka aana toh natural hai d (it is natural for inferiority complex to occur in these children d). 31 Jain,Varupi, 8Equals in Education? 9www.indiatogether.org/cgi-bin/tools/pfriend.cgi.<br><br> 32 Ibid. 8 Poor 9 Children in 8Rich 9 Schools ISST August 2005 21 There are also several schools, for instance, Springdales School , Pusa Road, which have other alternative arrangements which also deserves mention in this regard. According to Ms.<br><br> Wattal, Principal, Springdales Pusa, the sch