Mumbai: SoBo school reinstates expelled RTE students

Less that two weeks after mid-day’s report, the management of Bombay International School in Babulnath has readmitted two girls, whose admission it had revoked citing a government GR; claims it did so on humanitarian grounds to prevent the girls from losing an academic year

Less than two weeks after mid-day highlighted the plight of two pre-primary students, who were expelled from the Bombay International School, in Babulnath, the school management has reinstated both girls. The girls had sought admission at the unaided school under the freeship quota of the Right to Education (RTE) Act and had attended school in April.

Sunday mid-day report on May 3 highlighting the plight of the girls
Sunday mid-day report on May 3 highlighting the plight of the girls

The school administration had then cancelled their admissions based on the government resolution (GR) issued by the state in mid-April, which mentioned that unaided schools could cancel all the pre-primary admissions and only Class I admissions had to be maintained. On May 11, the Bombay High Court stayed the GR and asked the schools to maintain status quo pertaining to the pre-primary admissions. The order was passed on May 11 after the court heard a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by parents and activists, challenging the cancellation of admissions.

“These admissions came to us through the government and we revoked them based on the GR it issued. Though we are yet to receive a copy of the HC order from the government officially, we readmitted the students on humanitarian grounds so that they can start attending classes once the school reopens in June and avoid losing a year,” said Mona Seervai, principal, Bombay International School.

mid-day report highlighting the same issue on May 13
mid-day report highlighting the same issue on May 13

Earlier this week, parents of the expelled girls visited the school with a copy of the HC order. However, they alleged that the management refused to entertain them.

“I thought my daughter would end up losing a year. But the school called us the next day, and accepted the HC’s order. I’m glad that my daughter can once again go to school, which she loves,” said Samarnath Kanojia, the parents of one of the girls. Kanojia, who works as a driver, said that this could be his daughter’s only opportunity to receive quality education because he cannot afford to pay the fees for a good school.

Another PIL filed

On Tuesday, activists filed another PIL related to the RTE process, asking for the streamlining of the online admission procedure for seats reserved under the RTE Act. The PIL is slated to be heard today.

“Not only has this system left out too many children awaiting admissions in unaided schools, even those who managed to secure admissions are struggling to complete the procedure. What is the point of having a system that fails to deliver?” said S Narayan, an activist from NGO Anudanit Shiksha Bachao Samiti (ASBS).  

While the state is yet to streamline the admission process, educationists are hoping the court will provide the impetus so that necessary changes are implemented before the commencement of the approaching academic year. “Last year, hundreds of children were left stranded after the schools refused admissions.

What made matters worse was the government’s apathetic attitude in initiating action against these errant schools. We hope things change for the better this year,” added Narayan.  

Officials from the BMC education department said that they are waiting to hear from the government to decide on the future of the online admission process under the RTE Act.

Did you know?
It was in the case of S P Gupta vs Union of India in 1981 that the Supreme Court of India defined the term ‘Public Interest Litigation’ (PIL) in the Indian context

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