Saturday, March 23, 2013

RTE does not make it clear what constitutes neighbourhood school: Madras HC

RTE does not make it clear what constitutes neighbourhood school: Madras HC

PTI Jul 3, 2012, 09.25AM IST
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has observed that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act does not make it clear as to what constitutes a neighbourhood school.
"If there is more than one school in a neighbourhood, to which institution the parent can have the choice, which authority can direct admission to such school and who will supervise the admission is not clear," justice K Chandru said.

The judge made the observation while dismissing petitions from M Abimanyou and four others, seeking a direction to identify neighbourhood schools as provided for under the Act.
The petitioners also sought a direction to unaided private schools to admit their children in different classes.
Justice Chandru said it was only in schools under Sec 2(n)(i) of the Act (schools established,owned or controlled by appropriate government or local authority), that free and compulsory elementary education to all children is to be provided.
He said schools cited in the petition admittedly came under Sec 2(n)(iv) as unaided non-minority schools, in which case the process of admitting students with 25 per cent reservation for children of weaker sections and disadvantaged groups started only from Standard one and could grow gradually from there to Standard eight.
However, in the case of pre-school education, it could start from LKG, he said.
He said the petitioners were under the misconception there would automatically be complete free education for unaided private schools.
Justice Chandru said if a child was unable to get admission to Standard I in any unaided private school, the only guarantee for free and compulsory education for children aged six to 15 was under Sec 9 of the Act (Duties of local authority).
So the obligation to provide free and compulsory education up to 14 years of age vested solely on local authorities.
In the scheme of things, it was not clear if parents of wards of weaker or well-off sections would have any right to get their wards admitted to schools of their choice, he said.
Except for a guarantee of 25 per cent of admission to weaker sections, the rest 75 per cent who wanted admission to such private schools were to fend for themselves by paying the fees demanded as per law, he said.

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