EWS Quota in Schools – Free Education from Class 1 to 8, Know Admission Process, Challenges & More

EWS Quota in Schools – Students belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) from the unreserved category can avail of free education from Classes 1 to 8 in their neighbourhood schools, including private unaided institutions, under the Right to Education Act, 2009.

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In this article, we will share details regarding the EWS quota in schools, including the admission procedure, the necessary documentation, eligibility criteria, and challenges encountered by students and their parents.

Students from families with an annual income below a specified threshold set by the central government, i.e., INR 8 lakh, are eligible for the EWS quota. Additionally, applicants must not be covered under the reservation schemes for SC/ST/OBC categories and must meet the specified residential and asset criteria. 

However, the maximum annual income threshold under the EWS quota may differ from state to state. For example, in Kerala, it is set at INR 4 lakh.

According to Section 12(1)(c) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, schools must allocate 25% of their available seats to children from EWS and Disadvantaged Groups (DG) residing in the neighbourhood and admit them into Class 1. 

These schools are required to offer free and mandatory elementary education until Class 8. Subsequently, the concerned state government is responsible for reimbursing these schools on a per-child-expenditure basis.

The admission process for EWS students entails submitting online applications, conducting a computerised lottery of applications, and verifying documents. However, it’s essential to note that the specific procedure may vary from one state to another.

EWS students and their parents encounter various challenges, such as denial of admission by private schools, limited access to digital resources and gadgets, and the struggle to compete with their privileged peers.

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Nevertheless, there was a significant relief for EWS students and their families when the Delhi High Court delivered a decisive message to private schools in the national capital on December 16, 2022. 

In its ruling, the court sternly warned schools of severe consequences if they unjustifiably deny admissions to economically disadvantaged students.

EWS Quota in Schools – What is the EWS quota?

  • The EWS quota is a reservation system that aims to provide free education to elementary students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds from the General/unreserved category in their neighbourhood schools, including private institutions.
  • It is a proactive step taken by the government to ensure social and economic equity in the education sector.
  • The EWS quota applies to government schools, government-aided schools, private unaided institutions and schools belonging to a specified category.
  • Through this quota, EWS students can avail 10% to 25% reservations in schools.

EWS Quota in Schools – Details and Benefits

  • Free Education: Schools implementing the EWS quota are mandated to provide 100% tuition fee waiver for Class 1-8 students admitted under this category. This financial support helps alleviate the burden of educational expenses for economically weaker families.
  • Scholarships and Support: In addition to fee concessions, EWS students may also receive additional scholarships or support to cover expenses related to books, uniforms, transportation, and other educational necessities. These provisions ensure that students have the necessary resources to fully engage in their education.
  • Reservation Percentage: The percentage of seats reserved for students under the EWS quota can vary from state to state in India. It typically ranges from 10% to 25% of the total seats.
  • Social Impact: The EWS quota not only provides educational opportunities but also contributes to social integration and diversity within schools. By creating a mix of students from different socioeconomic backgrounds, it fosters an inclusive environment that promotes understanding, empathy, and equality among students.

EWS Quota in Schools – Eligibility

  • The candidate must belong to the General/unreserved category.
  • The central government has set the candidate’s family income to be less than INR 8 lakh per annum.
  • However, the maximum annual income threshold under the EWS quota may differ from state to state. For instance, it is set at INR 4 lakh in Kerala.
  • The candidate’s family must not own more than 5 acres of agricultural land.
  • The candidate’s family must not own a residential flat of more than 1000 square feet.
  • The candidate’s family must not own a residential plot of more than 200 square yards in a non-notified municipality.
  • Applicants must be studying in Classes 1-8.


  • The definition of “Family” includes the person, their parents, siblings below the age of 18 years, and their spouse and children below 18 years.
  • All family-owned properties in different locations would be considered collectively when determining eligibility.

The following is a table of the EWS quota eligibility criteria for some states in India:

State Income Limit Landholding Limit Residential Property Limit
Andhra Pradesh INR 8 lakh 5 acres 1000 sq. ft.
Assam INR 8 lakh 5 acres 1000 sq. ft.
Bihar INR 8 lakh 5 acres 1000 sq. ft.
Gujarat INR 8 lakh 5 acres 1000 sq. ft.
Haryana INR 8 lakh 5 acres 1000 sq. ft.
Kerala INR 4 lakh 2.5 acres 20 cents
Maharashtra INR 8 lakh 5 acres 1000 sq. ft.
Punjab INR 8 lakh 5 acres 1000 sq. ft.
Tamil Nadu INR 8 lakh 5 acres 1000 sq. ft.

EWS Quota in Schools – Admission Process

The admission process is as follows:

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  • The government departments responsible for overseeing school education in various states invite online applications from students belonging to the EWS category for admissions to Classes 1-8 in schools, including private unaided institutions. Below is a screenshot displaying Delhi’s Education Department’s website.

EWS Quota in Schools

  • Students under the EWS quota are then shortlisted following a computerised lottery of applications. 
  • Thereafter, selected students receive notification via SMS on their registered mobile numbers within 24 hours of the lottery’s completion. 
  • Additionally, applicants can verify their admission status by visiting the designated website, which will display the name of the school allotted to them.
  • Apart from the aforementioned criteria, certain schools may also request the child to undergo an entrance exam or assessment, which is generally conducted by the school itself. The results of this entrance exam or assessment will be taken into consideration along with other criteria for admission.
  • Upon successful selection through the computerised lottery of applications or private school selection process, parents of the candidates are required to furnish the documents mentioned below.

EWS Quota in Schools – Required Documents

  • Income Certificate: This is a document that certifies the annual income of the applicant’s family. The income certificate is usually issued by the local tahsildar or revenue officer.
  • Application Form: Applicants are required to submit a printed copy of the filled-out application form.
  • Aadhaar Card: This is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
  • Self-Declaration: This is a document in which the applicant declares that they belong to the EWS category and that they meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Photograph: A recent passport-size photograph of the applicant.
  • Proof of Residence: This is a document that proves that the applicant is a resident of the state in which they are applying for the EWS quota.
  • Caste Certificate: This is a document that certifies that the applicant is from the General category.
  • Land/Property Documents: These documents certify that the applicant meets the required land and property holding ceiling.

After the submission of these documents, schools will conduct further verification to ensure authenticity. Upon completion of the document verification process, students can join the schools on the first academic day itself.

It’s important to note that schools offering admission under the EWS quota do not charge tuition fees to the students admitted, ensuring access to education for economically disadvantaged students.


Given the competitive nature of the nursery admission process in Delhi, early preparation is crucial. It is advisable to begin collecting the necessary documents, filling out the application form, and researching schools within the neighbourhood area along with their specific admission criteria.

EWS Quota in Schools – Where to Apply?

Here’s is a table presenting the states and union territories of India, along with the corresponding links to their respective school education departments. Students can utilise these links to apply for admission under the EWS quota system for Classes 1 to 8, as per the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009.

State/Union Territory School Education Department
Delhi https://edustud.nic.in/studentadmission/webform1.aspx
Uttar Pradesh https://rte25.upsdc.gov.in/
Bihar http://edu-online.bihar.gov.in/RtiReg/index.Html
Chhattisgarh https://eduportal.cg.nic.in/rte/
Madhya Pradesh https://rteportal.mp.gov.in/
Gujarat https://rte.orpgujarat.com/
Rajasthan http://rajpsp.nic.in/PSP2/Home/home.aspx
Uttarakhand https://rte121c-ukd.in/uttarakhand
Andhra Pradesh https://cse.ap.gov.in/
Jharkhand https://www.jharkhand.gov.in/school
Chandigarh http://online.chdeducation.gov.in/
Maharashtra https://education.maharashtra.gov.in/
Punjab https://www.ssapunjab.org/
Haryana https://harprathmik.gov.in/
Odisha https://sme.odisha.gov.in/
Tamil Nadu https://tnschools.gov.in/rte/?lang=en
Telangana https://schooledu.telangana.gov.in/ISMS/
West Bengal https://banglarshiksha.gov.in/about
Assam https://elementary.assam.gov.in/
Himachal Pradesh https://himachal.nic.in/index1.php?lang=1&dpt_id=16&level=0&linkid=587&lid=1521
Jammu and Kashmir https://www.dsek.nic.in/Hill/index.html
Meghalaya https://megeducation.gov.in/
Manipur https://manipureducation.gov.in/
Mizoram https://schooleducation.mizoram.gov.in/
Goa https://www.education.goa.gov.in/node/5
Arunachal Pradesh https://education.arunachal.gov.in/
Nagaland  https://education.nagaland.gov.in/
Tripura https://elementaryeducation.tripura.gov.in/
Karnataka  https://www.schooleducation.kar.nic.in/pryedn/rtearchives1516.html
Andaman and Nicobar Islands https://education.andaman.gov.in/
Lakshadweep https://lakedn.utl.gov.in/
Puducherry  https://schooledn.py.gov.in/ActsRules/PRTE.html

EWS Quota in Schools – Challenges 

  • In recent years, several private schools across the country have reportedly denied admissions to students under the EWS quota for seemingly minor reasons, such as spelling mistakes in application forms or the distance of students’ homes from the institution. 
  • In 2022, some private schools in Delhi also justified their denial of admission to EWS students by citing a low number of admissions in the General category.
  • An observation revealed that certain private schools in Delhi were admitting one EWS student only after filling three seats under the General category. Consequently, many children who were initially selected through the lottery were denied admission.
  • On December 16, 2022, the Delhi High Court issued a ruling stating that private schools must grant admission to all children selected through the lottery and allocate 25% of their total seats for EWS admissions, adhering to their declaration. 
  • Following this ruling, schools found refusing admission will be subject to legal consequences.
  • Furthermore, EWS students face a significant obstacle due to the lack of access to digital media, including internet connectivity, computers, tablets, smartphones, and other gadgets. 
  • This hurdle hampers the EWS students’ ability to compete on an equal footing with their peers from more privileged backgrounds.

EWS Quota in Schools – EWS Certificate Issuing Authorities

The EWS certificate is issued by designated authorities to authenticate the eligibility of applicants for the EWS quota in schools. The specific authority responsible for issuing the EWS certificate may vary from state to state in India. Generally, the following entities are authorised to provide EWS certificates:

  • Tehsildar or Revenue Officer: In many states, the Tehsildar or Revenue Officer at the local level is entrusted with the responsibility of issuing EWS certificates. Applicants can approach the Tehsildar’s office or the Revenue Department to obtain the certificate.
  • Block Development Officer: In some regions, the Block Development Officer (BDO) or Assistant BDO has the authority to issue EWS certificates. These officers are usually located at the block or taluk level and can provide the necessary certification.
  • Sub-Divisional Magistrate: In a few states, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) or Assistant Collector is authorised to issue EWS certificates. Applicants can approach the SDM office or the Revenue Department at the sub-divisional level for the certificate.
  • Municipal Corporation or Municipality: In urban areas, the Municipal Corporation or Municipality may have designated officials responsible for issuing EWS certificates. Applicants can inquire at the respective municipal office or civic body to know the specific procedure and authority for obtaining the certificate.

It is important to note that the exact appointing authority and process for obtaining an EWS certificate may differ depending on the state or region. Applicants should consult the local authorities or government websites for accurate and up-to-date information regarding the issuance of EWS certificates in their particular area.

EWS Quota in Schools – Process of Obtaining EWS Certificates

The process for obtaining an EWS (Economically Weaker Section) certificate may vary slightly depending on the state or region within India. However, the general steps involved in acquiring an EWS certificate are as follows:

  • Eligibility Verification: Applicants must ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria set by the respective state or central government. This typically includes having a family income below a certain threshold and not belonging to any reserved category (SC/ST/OBC).
  • Document Preparation: Applicants must gather the necessary documents for the application. These commonly include proof of identity (such as an Aadhaar card or Voter ID), proof of residence, income certificate, and any other required documents specified by the issuing authority.
  • Application Form: Applicants must obtain the application form for the EWS certificate. This form can usually be obtained online through the official website of the issuing authority or by visiting their office in person.
  • Filling the Application: Applicants must fill out the application form with accurate and complete information. Ensure that all the required fields are duly filled, and any supporting documents are attached as per the instructions provided.
  • Submission of Application: Applicants must submit the completed application form along with the supporting documents to the designated authority. This can be done either online through the official portal or in person at the relevant office.
  • Verification Process: After submission, the authorities will initiate the verification process. This may involve visiting the applicant’s residence or conducting interviews to verify the information provided in the application.
  • Processing and Issuance: Once the verification process is complete and the eligibility is confirmed, the EWS certificate will be processed and issued to the applicant. The certificate typically contains details such as the applicant’s name, family income, and other relevant information.
  • Renewal and Validity: EWS certificates generally have a specific validity period, typically one to three years, depending on the state or region. Renewal of the certificate may be required after the expiry date, and the process for renewal may vary as well.

EWS Quota in Schools – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the EWS quota?

The EWS quota is a reservation system implemented by the Government of India to provide access to educational opportunities for economically weaker sections of society. It aims to ensure that students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds have equal opportunities for admission to schools and colleges.

What are the challenges faced by students and their families under the EWS quota in schools?

EWS students and their parents encounter various challenges, such as denial of admission by private schools, limited access to digital resources and gadgets, and the struggle to compete with their privileged peers.

How does the EWS quota in schools benefit students?

The EWS quota in schools provides economically weaker students with reserved seats in schools, including private unaided schools. It helps them gain access to quality education and enjoy benefits such as reduced fees, scholarships, and support for educational expenses.

Who is eligible for the EWS quota in schools?

Students from families with an annual income below a specified threshold, typically INR 8 lakh, are eligible for the EWS quota. Additionally, applicants should not be covered under the reservation schemes for SC/ST/OBC categories and should meet the specified residential and asset criteria.

How can one apply for admission under the EWS quota in schools?

The admission process for EWS students entails submitting online applications, conducting a computerised lottery of applications, and verifying documents. Nevertheless, it's essential to note that the specific procedure may vary from one state to another.

Can EWS students avail of the reservation benefits in higher education institutions?

Yes, the EWS quota extends beyond schools and is applicable in higher education institutions as well. Reservation benefits for EWS students exist in colleges, universities, and other higher education programs. This ensures that economically weaker students have access to higher education opportunities.

How does the EWS quota in schools promote inclusivity and diversity?

The EWS quota in schools promotes inclusivity and diversity by ensuring representation from economically weaker sections in educational institutions. By providing reserved seats for EWS students, schools become more inclusive and offer a diverse learning environment where students from different socioeconomic backgrounds can interact and learn from each other.

What measures are in place to prevent misuse or fraudulent claims under the EWS quota?

To prevent misuse or fraudulent claims, the EWS certificate verification process is designed to thoroughly check the eligibility of applicants. Authorities verify the income, residential proof, and other required documents to ensure that only eligible candidates are granted admission under the EWS quota. Stringent measures are in place to maintain the integrity and fairness of the quota system.


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