Taking cognisance of the “dismal record” maintained by the private schools across the state in admitting children from economically weaker sections under the Right to Education Act, the Uttar Pradesh government has asked the Basic Education Department to write letters to CBSE/ICSE boards for taking due action against such educational institutions.
The government is also considering cancelling the No Objection Certificate issued to these schools.
The education department has been told to apprise the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights about the private schools that are denying admission to poor children.
Uttar Pradesh has an abysmal record when it comes to giving admission to children from economically weaker background under the RTE Act.
Until July 10 this year, only 3,061 admissions in 21 districts were approved. The remaining 54 districts did not record even a single admission. While Firozabad topped the list with 1,435 admissions followed by Lucknow with 467 admissions, Moradabad 377 and Kanpur 354, Kannauj gave admission to five and Mainpuri to only a single child. Private schools in Varanasi gave admission to 78 such students. Firozabad, according to District Magistrate Vijay Kiran Anand, did better because of the “door to door survey conducted in the unreserved wards where the children were notified”.
“After that we held a meeting with private schools and issued them notice to take admissions. It was done and now we are keeping track on these students on whether they are going to school daily,” Anand said.
On the other hand, Lucknow is the worst in terms of resistance offered by prestigious schools in denying admission to poor students under the RTE Act.
All this is likely to change.
“The letter is ready and will be dispatched within next 24 hours. We are writing to CBSE/ICSE boards explaining them about the attitude of these schools. They are denying admission to poor children under the RTE Act. We are not getting co-operation from their side. The boards should take action against them,” Basic Education Officer, Lucknow, Praveenmani Tripathi said. (The BEOs of each district has been asked to write a letter.)
Officials claimed that the City Montessori School (CMS) refused admission to 31 poor students and later approached the High Court. “We are now following court orders. We have been instructed to survey the school premises of CMS and submit a report about space for taking these admissions,” Tripathi said.
Ramon Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey along with other social activists are on hunger strike for the past seven days against CMS for denying admission to the children.
Several other schools that did allow admission have been accused by the parents of keeping a biased attitude towards their children. Parents have alleged that their children are being “harassed and chided over the free admission” by the school management, and have brought this to the notice of education department.
“There are such complaints and we are looking into the matter. We cannot reveal the names of the children right now,” he added. One such case was brought to the notice of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and its chairperson, Juhie Singh, visited the school to settle the issue.
When contacted, Lucknow District Magistrate Raj Shekhar said once the boards receive the letter, they are not only expected to take action against the erring schools but also ensure that the institutions are not flouting norms under the RTE Act. “If they (the private schools) do not follow the norms, the NOC given to them by the education department will be withdrawn,” he said.