[eebill] FW: Important article from Ashok-ji (dt 28/03/05)

| forgot to fwd this to the list earlier

From: "Ashok" <[email protected]>

Subject: Important article for publication/circulation Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 10:22:35 +0530


Ashok Agarwal, Advocate and Advisor, Social Jurist

Is a public school entitled to lay down its own admission criteria for the students belonging to the weaker sections? Answer is emphatically 'No'.

After Delhi High Court decision of 20.01.2004 in Social Jurist case followed by Delhi Government order of 27.04.2004 directing the public schools of Delhi to provide admission and freeship to the extent of 25/20% to the children belonging to the weaker sections, all the public schools are inventing ways and means to frustrate both the High Court and the Government orders.

A public school on a public land, has reluctantly admitted as many as 10 students only in the academic year of 2004-05 from the weaker sections, has now issued a circular to all the parents of the said 10 students informing them that a decision has been taken by the School Managing Committee that the proof of family income duly issued by the competent authority should be submitted every year and asked them to submit fresh proof of income certificate by the SDM.

Another public school has issued an advertisement in the newspapers inviting applications for admission in pre-primary class subject to the conditions that the applicant has to purchase admission form against payment of Rs.10/- each from the school and the applicant must be residing within the radius of one kilometer.

Yet, several schools are subjecting all the students and their parents to rigorous tests and interviews irrespective of fact whether it is an admission at the entry level or whether the student has a valid school-leaving certificate. The admission to almost all the students are denied saying that the student/ parents failed to clear the test/interview.

The authority to lay down any admission criteria exclusively rests with the government/land owing agency. However, the government/land owning agency is bound to lay down a criterion that advances the object underlying therein and not to defeat it. This authority flows from both the conditions of the land allotment and the provisions of Delhi School Education Act, 1973.

That so far as public schools are concerned, they have no authority to device their own admission criteria for students falling under weaker sections quota. The Rule 145 of Delhi School Education Rules, 1973 which empowers the head of every recognized school to regulate admission to a recognized unaided school or to any class thereof either on the basis of admission test or on the basis of result in a particular class or school has no application at all to the admission of students falling under weaker sections quota.

The schools could not have any objection to the admissions as long as the limit does not exceed the weaker sections quota of 25/20%. The government in its order-dated 27.04.2004 has laid down admission criteria that are required to be followed by the schools in letters and spirit. It is not only legally impermissible but also unjustified that schools device own arbitrary criteria for admission. The schools are going to the extent of verifying the correctness of the parental income certificates having been issued by the SDM, which is totally unwarranted. How a school can charge money for the admission form when it is expressly dis-allowed under the government order dated 27.04.2004?

That more than 2 lacs children of the poor would be eligible for admission and freeship in public schools under the weaker sections quota. How will it be possible for parents of these 2 lacs children to approach every year to the SDM for issuance of the parental income certificate for continuance of studies of their children in the schools? The demand for submitting such certificate every year is nothing but a device to harass the parents.

How a school can put a residential distance limit of one kilometer when no such limit has been laid down in the government order or in the land allotment letter. It is very interesting to note the schools are catering hefty fee-paying students living even beyond 15-20 k.m. away from the school and are also opposing the PIL in Delhi High Court seeking directions for adherence to neighbourhood school concept by all the schools. When the question of admission of students belonging to weaker sections arises, the schools are applying the neighbourhood school concept. Are not schools adopting double standard? It is one thing to say that neighbourhood school concept must be enforced for better education of the children and it is another thing to say that schools apply neighbourhood school concept only in the matter of admission of the student under weaker sections quota.

Similarly, the schools are totally unauthorized and unjustified in subjecting the students/ parents to test and interview. How a child at entry level can be subjected to test and interview when Delhi School Education Act, 1973 prohibits any such test up to class I? How a student having valid school transfer certificate can be denied admission in a class on the basis of such certificate?

If schools are allowed to device their own admission criteria, firstly, no student under weaker section quota would be admitted in the school and secondly, the students who have so far been admitted would be pushed out of the school sooner or later. The government and the land owning agency are the sole authorities to decide the admission criteria and the public schools have no say in the same.



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