Protesting parents foil school's plan to go by RTE rules for admission

The trustee of Antonio D’Silva High School at Dadar says they were giving preference to students staying in a 1-km radius, but had to give forms to everyone after parents insisted

With the admissions process taking place in many city schools, the usual battles between parents and school managements are at their peak.

Parents protest outside Antonio D’Silva High School at Dadar
Parents protest outside Antonio D’Silva High School at Dadar

On Tuesday morning, a large group of parents gathered outside Antonio D'Silva High School in Dadar to protest against the management’s decision to allegedly give admission forms to students staying in certain areas. While the school says it is following rules by giving preference to those in a 1-km radius, parents were furious.

“There are many kids from my area that are studying at the school, then why is my son being denied admission? The school management announced that they are giving admission forms only to students living within a 1-kilometre radius of the school, and though I stay in the area, I was not allowed to buy a form in the morning,” said G Phatak (name changed), one of the parents.

He added that parents were categorically told that only students from Prabhadevi, B S Road, Shivaji Park, etc were allowed to buy forms. Others were kept waiting outside the school gate. However, as the crowd grew more and more agitated with every passing hour, the school finally agreed to give forms to all parents who had gathered.

“Until last year, we gave forms to all who applied, and often by the end of the admission process there were many disappointed parents. This year we decided to go by rules and opened admissions to students in the neighbourhood first, but parents won’t accept this,” said Adrian D’Silva, the school trustee.

For a total of 200 seats available at the entry level, the school ended up selling 500 forms for R150 each on Tuesday. “We didn’t want parents to think that we are making money by selling forms, and refused to give out the forms. But they insisted so we had no choice,” he added.

By Tuesday afternoon, most parents had received the forms but were told that first preference will only be given to applicants residing within a one-kilometre radius. Last year, many schools had refused admission to students under the RTE online admission process, stating that they were not residing in a 1-km radius of the school premises.

“Schools have been told that they should give preference to neighbourhood kids but if they can’t fill all their seats with applicants from the neighbourhood, then they should accept admissions from other nearby areas as well,” said a senior education official. He added that schools were sent circulars about this, but many schools claimed they had not received the circular.

RTE rules
According to the rules laid down by the Right to Education (RTE) Act, a school should give first preference to students living within a 1-kilometre radius, the second preference to those living in a 3-kilometre radius and then to those residing within a 5-kilometre radius. The aim was to give neighbourhood kids a chance to study in a school of their choice. This rule, however, is being applied differently in different schools.

Rs 150
Cost of an admission form

500
No of admission forms sold

200
No of seats available in the Nursery

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