Parents demand action against Mumbai school for keeping kids out

Aug 10, 2014, 08:46 IST | Shreya Bhandary

Eight students of MTS Khalsa High School in Goregaon, who had taken admission under the RTE reservation quota, were asked to leave after the school gained minority status two months ago. State minority department asked to intervene 

It’s been close to two months since the new academic year began and schools are getting ready to conduct their first unit test exams. However, eight students who were given admission under the Right to Education (RTE) reservation quota in 2012 to MTS Khalsa High School in Goregaon, were asked to leave school on June 17 this year as the management had recently acquired minority status. Under the RTE act, 25 per cent seats for students from socially and economically weaker sections of the society had to be reserved in all private and other types of schools. However, the Supreme Court in 2012 ruling had said that minority institutions do not have to follow this rule. 

Six of the eight students who were denied entry to the MTS Khalsa High School. File Pic

In the same ruling, the SC also upheld the constitutional validity of the social welfare legislation enacted with Constitutional amendments which places an obligation on unaided private schools to reserve 25 per cent seats for such wards.

Confusion on ruling
However, confusion prevails on whether the ruling applies on students who have been admitted under the RTE act. Parents are angry with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as well as the state education department for blaming each other.

“The BMC had told us at the time of admission that educational institutes who got minority status after admitting children will have to continue providing free education but there was no document supporting the same. How is it my child’s mistake then?” an angry parent asked sunday mid-day. Another parent, on condition of anonymity, told this paper that his son asks him every day why he cannot go to school along with his friends.

Fight for their right
After running from pillar to post, parents and activists tried meeting the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for help.

Finally, the education department on Friday called for a meeting to discuss the fate of these kids. “If the government tells us that the school is not at fault, we’ll stop our agitation. My only problem is that children are missing their studies,” said activist Avisha Kulkarni, who has been fighting for the rights of these students. After Friday’s meeting, the education department has forwarded the complaint to the state minority department for final clarification.

“While we will ensure the children resume their education immediately, we also need to make sure what action should be taken against the school. Since it has a minority status, we will need the minority department to give the final word,” said a senior education department official.

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