Sunday, March 16, 2014

Minority School Shows the RTE Way

Minority School Shows the RTE Way

Published: 14th February 2014 08:36 AM
Last Updated: 14th February 2014 11:16 AM
Seven-year-old Vidhya S carries a pile of books to her principal’s chamber. Her notes are neat, with all the right answers. Vidhya is one of eight children admitted under the Right to Education (RTE) Act quota at M M Nursery and Primary School, a Muslim minority institution in Tasker Town.
Although minority unaided schools are exempt from the RTE Act, this school took a decision two years ago to implement the quota in keeping with Section 12 (1)(c).
M M School’s move is in sharp contrast to the practice of some schools which claim “minority” status to avoid RTE Act obligations.
This school, however, admitted eight children (four boys and four girls) belonging to the Hindu community under RTE, of whom five are in Class 2 and three in Class 1.
“Our management knew that they didn’t have to comply with RTE, but I started looking and found there were so many parents in the neighbourhood who wanted to send their kids to school. They had to be provided with the opportunity to give their children education,” said principal Veena Nesam.
The school, which is managed by the Modi Masjid Education Trust, allotted five seats in 2012-13 and three seats in 2013-14 under the RTE quota. “In the interest of children’s education, the management agreed to go ahead with RTE. We are aware that we cannot expect any fee from these children,” she said.
“I have already spoken with my management on how we can sustain ourselves financially. We already have children whose parents are unable to pay fees,” Nesam said.
The school, located in a three-storey building opposite the Modi Masjid, has 350 children spread over Classes 1-8 and is permitted to use Urdu as its medium of instruction. Still, the school also teaches in Kannada and English. “My knowledge of Tamil helped me reach out to parents in the neighbourhood. Awareness among parents on RTE is low. All they know is that there is free education,” Nesam said.
When asked why other private schools were using the minority tag as means to keep RTE at bay, she said: “Many schools do not want RTE because of the financial burden it comes with. It is the 25 per cent clause that schools are wary of.”
In fact, the Bangalore North-3 BEO has sanctioned Rs 10,000 for admitting children under the RTE quota.
Nagasimha G Rao, convenor, RTE Task Force, lauded the school for having gone against the odds to implement the RTE quota.
As of July last year, the Department of Public Instruction has identified 288 certified religious and linguistic minority schools in the state.
However, it cannot issue any more minority certificates because of a pending case in the High Court, allowing schools to falsely claim minority status without certification.
“We cannot issue certificates as the previous government’s new minority definition was stayed by the High Court,” said Mohammad Mohsin, Commissioner for Public Instruction.
The new minority definition of the previous government required 2/3rd of the members of a school’s management to belong to a minority section with more than 75 per cent children belonging to that minority community.
“Now, because we cannot issue certificates, many schools have approached the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions for certification,” Mohsin said.

No comments:

Post a Comment