Hum Honge Kamyaab....
In 2004, the Delhi High Court passed an order making it mandatory for public schools to reserve 20% seats for students from economically weaker sections of society. By this order, all public schools dependent on government grants in any form are required to waive admission costs and fees for poor students applying through this reserved quota. The order also states the criteria for deciding which families fall in this category.
SNS disseminated information about this order to residents of slum settlements in Malviya Nagar. Several people, keen to explore the option of public schools for their children, approached Apeejay School (public school in the area) for admission forms but were turned down by school authorities on various pretexts.
When people approached SNS with this problem, SNS volunteers accompanied them to meet the principal of the school and helped them file RTI applications to the Directorate of Education seeking information regarding availability of seats for the poor in Apeejay school and eligibility norms. Response to the questions asked revealed that Apeejay School was obliged to give admission to a large number of poor students and very few admissions had been given so far.
The information helped mount pressure on the school authorities, with the result that the school made seven token admissions. However, armed with information about the existence of many more vacant seats, guardians and SNS volunteers created pressure on school authorities to follow the stipulated procedure. After much effort, the school was compelled to interview 66 students out of which 25 were selected for admission. Hari Ram, a resident of Jagdamba camp, is overjoyed about his son’s admission to Apeejay School. He says, “Hamen vishwas nahi ho raha ki hamara beta itne bade school me padh raha hai. Soochna ke adhikar ke bina ye mumkin nahi hota.” (We can’t believe our son is studying in such a big school – it wouldn’t have been possible without the Right to Information).