Thursday, January 23, 2014

Kids denied admission to Class I under RTE quota

Kids denied admission to Class I under RTE quota

Shreya Bhandary, TNN Apr 24, 2013, 04.43AM IST

MUMBAI: In a case that points to schools' confusion over the reservation clause under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, a pair of six-year-old twins has been denied admission to Class I under the scheduled caste category. Admission under the clause assures a child free education. The mother of the twins recently filed a complaint against 17 prominent schools at the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR). It came up for hearing on Tuesday.
The twins' father, who can take up residence in company quarters in any part of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, had applied to 17 schools in various localities. "We have been applying to schools since December 25 and till date only one has replied, and that too to deny admission to our daughters," he said. In desperation, they also applied to five schools in Pune; here too, they were met with rejection.
The child rights commission has asked all the 17 schools in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai as well as the parents to submit their replies on the issue within a week.
On Tuesday, a group of representatives from some of the schools presented their reasons for refusing admission. "The father's income runs into lakhs per annum. How can we give him seats just because he has a caste certificate?" asked a school representative. The commission, though, said 25% seats are reserved for children from not just economically but also socially backward groups. "In case of the SC/ST category, parents only need a caste certificate. Their income certificate is not applicable," said A N Tripathi, secretary of MSCPCR.
While the commission stated that the reservation clause is applicable at every level from classes I to VIII, an education department official said it is only for entry-level admissions. "Schools can't make seats available in higher classes. Parents must apply only if there are vacant seats," said one.
Schools, too, are confused over whether the clause is applicable only to pre-primary students or it extends to higher classes as well. "The education department's latest circular makes it clear that the 25% reservation is applicable from a school's entry level, which in our case is the nursery. How do we make seats available in Class I?" asked a representative of D A V Public School, Nerul.
The commission, though, said schools cannot question a Centre-approved policy. "Our job is to ensure the policy is applied in its full letter and spirit and ensure that no child is denied his or her right," said Ujjwal Uke, commission chairperson.

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