Goregaon school finally takes back eight RTE quota students

MTS Khalsa School had refused to take back the students, who are from economically weak backgrounds, under the pretext that it had minority status and the quota no longer applied to it

Unlike most students, who tend to frown when they go to school, six-year-old Sunil stepped into his with a broad smile on his face on Wednesday. Sunil, and seven others, had been waiting for this moment for more than two months.

The students were sent back on Tuesday but were finally allowed to attend school on Wednesday
The students were sent back on Tuesday but were finally allowed to attend school on Wednesday

The eight students had secured admission in MTS Khalsa School, Goregaon, under the Right to Education Act quota for the economically weak students and had studied there for two years, but the institute had refused to let them continue in Std I unless they paid the fees.

mid-day’s June 19 report
mid-day’s June 19 report

Following the incident, the education department directed the school to let these students attend classes, which it finally did on Wednesday. “The school management has been given a copy of the RTE Act notification, which clearly states that in case a school ends up acquiring minority status, it will have to continue providing free admission to children who were admitted before the minority status was approved.

The management has agreed to adhere to the rules,” said Rajinder Kaur, deputy education officer, K/West ward. School authorities had, in June, refused to let the students enter the premises on the pretext that, since the school had been granted minority status, it was no longer was required to follow the RTE quota. It had asked the parents of the eight students to cough up the fees or look for another school.

On Tuesday, these Std I students had tried going back to school but were sent back as they couldn’t produce an income certificate demanded by the school. “We were asked to get an income certificate, which we are ready to provide; but the process will take at least two weeks.

We requested that the school allow our children to attend. Since they refused, we approached the education department again and, on Wednesday, our children were allowed to sit for classes,” said one of the parents.

The incident
These eight children had secured admission at this school in 2012 under the RTE Act’s 25% quota, under which schools have to provide free education to children from economically and socially backward classes. This paper had reported that, two days after the school reopened in June, the management had told the parents that their children’s admission would not be accepted any more.

“We were sure that the education department would help us, especially since the RTE admission was going on at the time. We ran from pillar to post trying to convince the school that, till the matter was solved, our children should be allowed to study, but no one came to our rescue. My son sat at home for two-and-a-half months. I hope the school will conduct extra classes to cover up for that,” said another parent.

On Wednesday, the parents had stood at the gates, praying that their children weren’t sent back. To their relief, the children came back only after classes got over. Avisha Kulkarni, from NGO Desh Seva Samiti, which has been supporting the parents, said “I’m happy my struggle to ensure the RTE implementation in its true form was finally successful. Now I hope the school lets this batch study till they finish their education.”

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