The Delhi High Court on Friday has stayed the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education’s direction against re-admitting students who have failed in classes 9 to 12 in two consecutive years in government schools.
Pronouncing the judgment on the circular issued by the department in August 2018, the court of Justice Rajiv Shakhder noted that it interferes with every student’s basic right to education and is in violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
The petitioner is the father of Syed Mohd Ashar and Syed Mohd Imad, who were refused admission in Class IX in Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Vivek Vihar, and other schools nearby. Advocate Ashok Agarwal termed the DoE circular dated August 2018 as illegal and in violation of Articles 14, 21 and 21A of the Constitution of India and provisions of the Delhi School Education Act 1973.
“The HoS of government schools, on the strength of circular dated August 27, invariably denies readmission to hundreds of students who failed twice in Class IX to XII, which is illegal and arbitrary and therefore the operation of the circular dated August 27 to that extent may be stayed,” urged Agarwal.
Article 21 A of the Constitution mentions free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of six to 14 years as a fundamental right.
The Directorate of Education (DoE) in August 2018 issued guidelines to heads of various government schools on the matter of re-admitting children who failed in classes 9 to 12.
The circular states that a student who fails once should be re-admitted to the school if they “insist” on it, but only after they have been told to consider other options like CBSE’s Patrachar Vidyalaya or National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) centres, which the state government runs in collaboration with the NIOS.
However, in cases of students who fail two consecutive years, the circular states that, “he/she will invariably be counselled about choosing other available options like the Patrachar Vidyalaya, the NIOS, etc, and will not be re-admitted as a regular student”.
Less than a third of the children who failed in 2017-18 were re-admitted to their schools. While 11,226 were admitted to Patrachar Vidyalayas, 18,345 were admitted to NIOS centres.
Several education experts have criticised this move. “This policy of not re-admitting students and encouraging them to enter alternative institutes does not help them academically, and pushes them out of the formal education system. Once children are admitted to NIOS, the chances of them getting to pursue studies after Class 10 becomes limited and the only avenue that remains for them is vocational courses,” Anita Rampal, former professor of elementary and social education at Delhi University told the Indian Express.