Getting a seat under the RTE quota is not a cakewalk, as the admissions process this year has clearly demonstrated. But what is probably harsher than not getting a seat is crossing all the hurdles to do so, and then being thrown out after two years.
Six of the eight kids who had just begun Std I and are now being thrown out
That is exactly what is happening to eight students of the MTS Khalsa High School in Goregaon, who had got admissions in 2012 and are now being asked to either start paying fees or leave the school. The management’s reasoning is that since the school has recently been given minority status, they don’t have to abide by the 25% RTE quota and its attendant rules anymore.
“My son was admitted to the school under the 25% quota in 2012, when the school didn’t have minority status. On the day his Senior KG results were distributed, however, the authorities asked us to start paying the fees applicable to all other students now that they have the status,” said the mother of one of the students.
The kids’ parents added that while they have been exempted from paying tuition fees, they have been paying the school for books and uniforms for the past two years. “We have never defaulted, then why is the school targeting us now?” asked the mother.
On June 16, when the school reopened, the parents of the eight kids had sent their children to begin Std I and were happy that the school had not taken action. But when the parents went to pick up their children on Tuesday, they were clearly informed by the authorities to either pay the fees or take their children to another school for free admissions.
“While the school had told us this on the day of the results, we didn’t withdraw the admission of our daughter because we were clearly told while taking admissions that she would study in this school till Std VIII.
How is it our fault that the school managed to get minority status in May 2013? And if we could afford to pay the fees, why would we take admission under the RTE quota in the first place?,” said another parent.
“At the time of admission if the school did not have minority status, it is bound by law to continue giving free education to these children till class VIII,” said Sunil Dhamna, deputy municipal commissioner (education).
The other side
“We had admitted these children when we didn’t have minority status. We got the status approval last year and still allowed these children to continue their education for free.
This year, we explained to the parents very clearly that they can apply to other non-minority schools through the online process, but they didn’t budge,” said school principal Ram Krishnan.
“Now that we are a minority school, we don’t have to give free admissions. Also, there are plenty of vacant seats in other schools where these children can apply,” he added.