Results of a detailed inquiry carried out by officials of the Zilla Parishad (ZP) have revealed that the prestigious ICSE board St Mary’s School in the city is clearly violating the Right To Education (RTE) Act. Though the school does not have a minority certificate, it is not reserving 25 per cent seats for students of the economically weaker section at the time of admissions as per the RTE.
Primary Education Officer of the ZP, Dattatray Shendkar, issued a notice to St Mary’s School on December 29 last year, asking the concerned official to cancel its ongoing admission procedure, as it is clear that the procedure is non-transparent. The notice states, “St Mary’s School does not possess the minority certificate. Still the principal of the school has not implemented RTE and not reserved 25 per cent seats at the time of admission procedure last year. It is breach of the RTE.”
“Even in the prospectus of the school it is mentioned that the school comes under minority category and has misguided parents. For all these lapses, we recommend strict action against the principal and school management committee, as it is cleared that the school is deliberately not following the law,” the notice states.
Extension Officer of Haveli Panchayat Samiti, K D Bhujbal, conducted the inquiry last month. “The school management has applied for minority status in 2002. But till date does not possess the minority certificate. Still the school continues to mention itself as a minority school,” Bhujbal said and added that the school was also indulging in irregularities in its admission process of the pre-primary section.
“Though the RTE has banned interviews for children or parents, the school has been conducting interviews at the time of admission. I found the system of short-listing applications to be partial,” Bhujbal said. When contacted, Shendkar said, “We asked the school administration to reply to the notice in writing within seven days. We will soon decide a further course of action.”
St Mary’s School principal Sujata Mallic Kumar admitted that the school does not have a minority certificate. “We have applied for the minority certificate in 2002, but have still not received it. We are a law-abiding institution. Our school was established way back in 1866 as a minority school. The rule of possessing the minority certificate has come about only recently,” Mallic said.