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Residential schools,convents not bound to reserve seats for poor

With the Supreme Court upholding the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Act,while almost all private schools will now have to set aside 25 per cent free seats for students from disadvantaged sections in Class I,a number of elite schools — including popular missionary schools and high-profile residential schools across the country — will manage to wriggle out of this provision.

Written by Anubhuti Vishnoi | New Delhi | Published: April 13, 2012 12:42 am

With the Supreme Court upholding the constitutional validity of the Right to Education Act,while almost all private schools will now have to set aside 25 per cent free seats for students from disadvantaged sections in Class I,a number of elite schools — including popular missionary schools and high-profile residential schools across the country — will manage to wriggle out of this provision.

As per the court’s decision,unaided minority schools,which include convent schools and those run by religious trusts,will not be bound to reserve seats as applying certain admission clauses to them would amount to infringement of the fundamental freedom guaranteed to unaided minority schools under Section 30(1) of the Constitution.

The apex court has taken a special view of orphanages and boarding schools,saying the RTE Act cannot be extended to boarders and the government must issue appropriate guidelines on this.

Sources in the HRD Ministry said since most residential schools do not keep boarders at Class I level,they do not have to reserve 25 per cent seats.

“The 25 per cent seats for disadvantaged section is a clause predicated on the reasoning that the government will reimburse the cost to the school . The government,however,is in no position to pay the huge fees incurred in boarding schools. Now,guidelines will be formulated in view of the court’s orders,” said the official.

The Indian Public Schools Conference (IPSC) — a body representing 78 elite schools that are largely residential — had strongly opposed the law in 2010,saying it would lead to social adjustment issues. The IPSC includes schools like Welham Girls and Boys schools,Mayo College,DPS R K Puram and Mathura Road.

Sibal hails order

Welcoming the Supreme Court’s decision,HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said: “What the court has given us today is clarity on the issue so that all controversies are set to rest. When the controversies are set to rest,our vision of education moves forward…One of the biggest issues involved was whether 25 per cent reservation applies to private schools or not.”

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