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Government to redefine 'minority' status for schools

Ashwini Y S, Bangalore, May 2 2012, DHNS: 0:24 IST

Enrolment of more than 50 pc of minority students mandatory for tag

With a surge in the number of private unaided educational institutions seeking the minority tag, the State government is contemplating to redefine the criteria to obtain the status.

Sources said that under the proposed guidelines, an educational institution will have to enrol more than 50 per cent of minority category students to be eligible to secure the tag of a ‘minority institution.’

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri and senior officers of the Education Department on Wednesday.

The demand for the ‘minority’ tag comes in the wake of the Supreme Court judgement which ruled that the Right to Education Act will not be applicable to unaided minority schools.

Under the present norms, the institutions with two-thirds of their management members being ‘minority,’ and those which admit minority children on pro-rata basis are considered as minority institutions. The enrolment of minority children should correspond to the percentage of linguistic or religious minority population of the ward (in urban areas) or taluk (in rural areas).

For instance, if the population of Christians is one per cent in an area, the minority school is required to enrol one percent of Christians students.

If the present guidelines are continued, the number of minority institutions will exceed 50 percent of the existing unaided institutions in the State. But, under the proposed norm, the number of such institutions will come down drastically, thus bringing more unaided schools under the purview of RTE.

The Director of Minorities and Other Languages of the Education Department grants the status.

Officials said that even before the RTE regime, several minority institutions did not comply with the pro-rata enrolment and admitted only ‘majority’ students.

This was so especially in the case of ‘Christian institutions,’ they said.

Merger of schools

The Union government has shot down the State’s proposal to merge class 8 with higher primary section over a period of five years.

At the recently held meeting of the Project Approval Board in New Delhi, the State was asked to complete the merger of class 8 with higher primary section in the next three years, starting this academic year.

Sarva Shikshana Abhiyaan had identified 814 higher primary schools (HPS) with over 70 students each in class 7, for the merger.

The plan has now been revised - to merge 2,200-odd HPSs with more than 50 students in class 7 - with class 8.

The exercise will require 2000-odd additional teachers and equal number of classrooms. The Sarva Shikshana Abhiyaan is yet to work out a budget to implement the plan.

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