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Goregaon school ignores BMC notice, yet to reinstate RTE children

Week after the notice, Goregaon school is yet to allow the eight students to attend classes; parents protested yesterday, but were shooed away by the police

More than a week after the BMC education department sent a notice to the management of MTS Khalsa High School in Goregaon, asking them to reinstate eight RTE quota students or face action, the school has not budged.

It’s been more than three weeks since the academic year began, but these kids are being forced to forgo education and sit at home
It’s been more than three weeks since the academic year began, but these kids are being forced to forgo education and sit at home

Frustrated by the tepid response to their pleas in various quarters, the parents of the children decided to take matters in their own hands and protested at the school’s gate last morning. They were supported by activists, but even this effort was thwarted when the school called the police and they had to disperse in the afternoon.

“My child has been yearning to go to school for the three weeks since the new academic year began. All his friends are going to school, but every time I send my son, the class teacher throws him out, because that’s what she has been ordered to do by the school management. There is no justice,” said the mother of one of the students.

“These children have been denied their right to education by the school and still neither the police nor the education department has taken any action. But, when we organised a peaceful protest to highlight the children’s plight, the police sprung into action immediately,” said Avisha Kulkarni, activist from Desh Seva Samiti.

Kulkarni called the deputy municipal commissioner (education) Sunil Dhamne on Tuesday, and was told a decision will be taken soon. Dhamne said a meeting was held at the BMC education department office in Dadar Hindu Colony yesterday and assured Kulkarni that education officials will be sent to the school today to sort out this issue.

“He has also assured us that they will seek the opinion of the legal department of the state education department if the school is adamant," said Kulkarni.

Background
The eight children had sought admission at MTS Khalsa High School in 2012 under the RTE reservation quota. A year later, the school received minority status and, when the academic year began in June, the parents of the eight kids were told to pay the fees like other children, or look out for admission elsewhere.

When mid-day had reported about this on June 19 (‘Pay fees or leave, Mumbai school tells eight RTE students’), the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter the same day and sent a notice to the school.

The BMC education department had also insisted that the school could not ask the children to leave and had sent a notice to the school on June 30 (‘Take back RTE kids or face action: BMC to Goregaon school’, mid-day, July 2) ordering them to take back the children.

The notice clearly stated that if the school did not have minority status at the time of giving admissions to the students, they are bound to continue providing them free education till Std VIII. When mid-day tried calling the school management yesterday, no one was willing to speak on the protests or the subsequent call to the police.

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