Almost a month after a Goregaon school expelled eight students it had earlier admitted under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, for students from economically weaker sections (EWS), stating that it had acquired minority status, the parents of the eight students have now filed a complaint with the education department and the education minister about the issue.
MTS Khalsa High School expelled the eight EWS students who were admitted to the school in 2012, after it acquired minority status earlier this year.
The parents of these eight students have alleged that the school has been trying to get their wards out since the time they were admitted, but were forced to follow the RTE norms or face action.
“In 2012 our children got admissions after thorough verification of our financial backgrounds etc. In 2013 too they refused to give admissions to our wards. However, with the help of an educational activist, we managed to get them admitted in the next class,” alleged Ahmed Shaikh, one of the parents.
Another parent Rohan Mhaske alleged, “This year, all the eight students attended their class on day one, and on the next day they were told by the school authorities that either they pay the total fees of the school like other students or leave. They were then expelled when we refused to pay.”
The school now claims that it got minority status and so, as per the rules, it is no longer required to reserve the 25 percent seats for EWS students. Officials from the school were unavailable for comment.
School education department officials, meanwhile, said many schools have begun acquiring minority certificates from other states.
“Since unaided minority schools are exempted from implementing several RTE clauses, such as the 25 percent quota, several schools have been rushing in for a minority certificate. Although the state had tightened the screws on the issue of minority certificates, educationists claim that this has done little to stop city schools,” said an education official from the BMC.
Education officials say such certificates are making it difficult for them to pull up errant schools.
“Many schools have now hit upon the idea of acquiring such certificates from agencies outside the state,,” said Avisha Kulkarni, an educational activist and national convenor of Deshbhakti Andolan.
A senior official from the education department alleged that many schools claiming to be an institution for minorities do not have more than 5 percent of minority students.
“They are misusing the minority status just to get away from implementing the 25 per cent quota clause,” the official said.
Sambhavi Jogi, education officer of the BMC and in-charge of RTE online admissions said, “We will verify the matter and look into it. As of now we do not have proper details on the issue.”