NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet Thursday gave its approval to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill that, among other things, envisages 25 percent reservation for weaker sections in private schools.
An official in the human resource development ministry told IANS: "The bill was approved by the previous government, (and) was put up before the new cabinet today and was okayed." The government plans to present the bill in the month-long budget session of the parliament that began Thursday and is on top of the human resource development ministry's agenda for the next 100 days.
The proposed legislation envisages free and compulsory education to children in the age group of six to 14.
The previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had approved the bill and placed it in the Rajya Sabha but was yet to be passed.
Earlier in the day, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal reiterated the government's commitment to implement 25 percent quota in private schools for weaker sections as part of the bill.
He told a group of 30 schools that "we all have our societal obligations and we must contribute towards this end".
A day after reinforcing job quota in faculty of the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Thursday said the government is "committed" to reserving 25 percent seats in private schools for weaker sections.
The minister said this during an interaction with officials of 30 private schools in the national capital, a ministry statement said.
"In reply to a question on whether the government would be proposing 25 percent seats of private schools to be reserved for weaker sections, as stated in the Right to Education Bill placed in the Rajya Sabha, Sibal reiterated the government's commitment to the proposal," the ministry said.
The statement quoted Sibal as saying that "we all have our societal obligations and we must contribute towards this end".
Sibal proposed setting up of a group to discuss reforms in the education system. He said principals of private schools will be invited to be part of this group.
The minister also suggested that dysfunctional government schools be given over to private management for efficient functioning.