Monday, March 25, 2013

Missionary schools refuse admission under RTE


Missionary schools refuse admission under RTE


BHOPAL: Private unaided missionary schools in Bhopal have decided not to toe government diktat and provide admissions on 25% of total seats to underprivileged children under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of convent schools of Bhopal held at Seva Sadan office of Regional Catholic Church here on Saturday.

The schools have also decided to move court on the issue if the state government doesn't relent. The meeting was convened by Fr Thomas Attummel, director of the MP Inter-diocesan Catholic Schools (AMPICS).

Sources said that convent schools discussed recent circular of school education department of Madhya Pradesh vide letter (ref no F-44-21/2011/BS-2) in which state government mentioned about amendments in RTE Act carried out by Centre and issued orders on March 18 whereby it was stated that the convent schools would have to adhere to the RTE Act and admit underprivileged children as they were not exempted from the ambit of the Act.

Fr Thomas said, "15 principals of the catholic schools of Bhopal attended the meeting and unanimously resolved not to give the admission to the children under RTE Act 2009. Instead we shall give admission to economically deserving children in our institutions."

Principals observed that recent amendment in section 30 of RTE Act passed in the Parliament with respect to RTE Act 2009 and that which is to be enforced in the country, "Has been wrongly interpreted by state school education department in its applicability."

Fr Solomon S (PRO), Fr Johnney P J (spokesperson) and director of Bourbon School Balthazar Bourbon were also present. "Today we called only the Bhopal schools' principals. Later we would convene a meeting of all the convent school principals of the state," said Fr Thomas.

Advocate Balthazar Bourbon gave legal guidance to members. It was decided that Fr Thomas Attummel would lead a team to submit a memorandum to governor Ram Naresh Yadav and CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. "We have already sought an appointment from the CM's office. In case the talks prove futile, we are ready to move court," he said.

Bone of contention:

1. Amendment to section 1 of RTE act that says "subject to the provision of Article 29 and 30 the constitution of India of this RTE Act 2009, shall apply to conferment of rights of children to free and compulsory education." But meaning of the phrase "subject to the provision" has been grossly misinterpreted.

2. The privileges that have been granted to the minority institutions under article 29 and 30, have been extended to the 'Vedic Pathshalas and Madarsas as well.'

3. In no way the privileges that were granted to the minorities unaided institutions through the pronouncement by the Apex Court has been nullified by the said amendments.

4. The education department has interpreted the amendment to curtail, the wordings would have been either "Despite the Provisions" or "Notwithstanding the provision of article 29 and 30 of the Constitution."

5. The consideration of the said amendment has virtually nullified the pronouncement of the Supreme Court judgment in this context.

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