Senior politicians and teachers’ bodies in Haryana have raised questions on the government’s Cheerag scheme, which was recently launched to offer “free education” to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students of government schools in “budget” private schools.
What is Haryana’s Cheerag scheme?
- Cheerag scheme stands for Chief Minister Equal Education Relief, Assistance and Grant (Cheerag)” scheme.
- It was introduced in place of a similar scheme launched in 2007 under Rule 134 A of the Haryana School Education Rules, 2003.
- Under the Cheerag scheme, government school students whose parents have an annual verified income of less than Rs 1.8 lakh can enroll in private schools from Class II to XII.
- The government will reimburse-
- Rs 700 per student from Classes II to V.
- Rs 900 per student from Classes VI to VIII.
- Rs 1,100 per student from Classes IX to XII.
About Rule 134 A of the Haryana School Education Rules, 2003
- Rule 134-A was a provision under the Haryana School Education Rules, which existed before RTE.
- The new Act provides 25 per cent benefit to EWS, while Rule 134-A provides only 10 per cent benefit.
- Under Rule 134-A, meritorious students belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) were allowed 10 per cent seats in private schools and could complete their studies up to class 12th.
- After the abolition of Rule-134A, now children from poor families will not get free admission on 10 percent seats in private schools.
- Under the Right to Education Rules (RTE), the government will provide 25% admission to economically weaker children in private schools.
- To abolish Rule-134A, the School Education Department has amended the Haryana School Education Rules, 2003.
- The amended rules will now be called the Haryana School Education Rules, 2022.
Response to the Cheerag scheme
- As many as 533 “budget” private schools – mostly in villages and small towns — applied to offer seats to EWS students under the Cheerag scheme.
- However, the authorities found only 381 schools eligible due to different technical reasons.
- These 381 private schools offered 24,987 seats for EWS students from government schools.
- However, only 1,665 students have preferred to opt for the scheme, which is just 6.66 per cent of the total offered seats.