PIL challenges guidelines which unaided pvt schools say give them right to formulate own criteria.
The Delhi High Court on Monday made clear that its decision on a PIL, challenging admission guidelines that unaided private schools claim allow them to formulate their own criteria, will also affect nursery class admissions for the 2013-14 academic session.
“Our order (on the PIL) would also be applicable on nursery admission for ensuing academic session,” a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain said.
The PIL stated that on November 23, 2010, the HRD Ministry issued guidelines under the Right to Education Act that allowed private unaided schools to frame their own admission criteria for the fee-paying, so-called general category, students. In December that year, the Delhi Department of Education also issued guidelines on similar lines. Both these orders have been challenged by NGO Social Jurist.
The PIL alleged that the government order had given private unaided schools the freedom to identify any category, based on policy/principles that are fair, just and reasonable within the ambit of the RTE Act and guidelines, for admission of the 75 per cent general category students while laying down strict guidelines for admission of children under the economically weaker section (EWS) category.
The PIL, filed by advocate Ashok Aggarwal, alleged that the order “deliberately frustrates the very objective” of the Right to Education Act.
The NGO alleged that the power given to schools to lay down admission criteria was “contrary to Section 13 of the Act”, which says that there would be no screening process of either parents or children and no child would be discriminated against. The Act also provides that admission would be granted by way of draw of lots and neighbourhood would be the only criterion.
Separate guidelines cannot be framed by schools, it alleged, adding that despite the law being clear, schools have been formulating their own guidelines and according preferences in the admission process on various discretionary grounds.
The court’s observations on Monday made schools look afresh at their admission plans.
Usha Ram, principal of Laxman Public School, said the school had started calculating points for more than 3,000 applications that it received. “We will keep everything ready and wait to see if changes need to be made,” she said.
Madhulika Sen, chairperson and principal of Tagore International School, said: “Every year, decisions are taken and systems are changed during the admission season. This becomes very frustrating for parents.”
“The review of admission procedure should be done before admissions are opened. Our entire schedule for the end of the academic year gets uprooted,” she said. The point of view of schools, she said, should also be taken into consideration before arriving at a decision.