The Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has now put the onus on the state government to ensure the admission of a child under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, after she failed to get admission in some of the top schools in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai under the 25 per cent quota for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS).
“The complainant approached 17 schools in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai for getting admission. In the complaint, it is alleged that despite their best efforts, the complainant’s daughter could not get admission and that some schools even refused to allow the complainant to enter the school premises. The complainant revealed that the matter falls under the freeship scheme of 25 per cent quota, for which the RTE Act is envisaged,” says the detailed order.
When summoned by the Commission, some of the schools argued that they fell under the category of unaided minority schools and are hence exempted under the Act. One argued that the admission was applicable at the entry level or pre-school while the daughter of the complainant had sought admission in Std I. Other reasons given included no vacancy in Class I and that no circular was received by the school regarding freeship quota. The schools summoned include Cathedral & John Connon School, Bombay Scottish, JB Petit High School, Villa Theresa High School, Apeejay School, DAV Public School and Ryan International School, among others.
The Commission has observed that according to a circular issued by the Maharashtra government in 2013, 25 per cent reservation in a school is applicable only at the entry level. The circular further says that unaided minority schools as well as madrasas, vedic pathsalas and educational institutions primarily imparting religious instruction are exempted from this rule.
“Those schools where the complainant had approached fall under the minority status category and are free from the clutch of the RTE Act. One school, which is a non-minority school, was ready to give admission in pre-schooling as per the Government of Maharashtra’s rule, while the daughter of the complainant is in Class 1. Thus, she is not entitled to get admission in Class 1,” says the Commission in its order.
The Commission, however, further says that under the RTE Act, the state is obliged to provide education to children in the age group of 6 to 14 years in the neighbourhood.
“However, it could not be established by the complainant which schools are near the complainant’s residence and satisfy the object of neighbourhood schools. In view of the above, the education department is directed to ensure the admission of the complainant’s daughter according to the provision of the RTE Act and rule made thereunder,” says the order.
Source: The Indian Express