Activists knock on LG door against pre-nursery rules

A forum of lawyers working in health and education submitted a written representation on Monday to the Lieutenant Governor, demanding amendments in pre-nursery admission criteria to bring them in line with the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.

“A majority of private unaided schools start from pre-primary level, and admit students at pre-primary level after which they are promoted to elementary level. The norms governing pre-primary admissions need to conform with the RTE Act, failing which the entire purpose of key provisions of the Act will be defeated,” said Ashok Agarwal, advisor, Social Jurist.

According to Social Jurists, the Recognised Schools (admission procedure for pre-primary class) Order (RSO), 2007 in its present form allows schools to formulate their own criteria for selecting children, including siblings, transfer case, single parent and minority. The RSO also allows them to keep a management quota of 20 per cent. 

“It is arbitrary, non-child centric, unconstitutional and inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the RTE Act,” said Agarwal in the representation. 

Section 13 read with Section 2 (o) clearly prohibits adoption of any preferential criteria for discrimination among children seeking admission and also makes it punishable, he added.

Section 13 (1) of the RTE Act states that no school or person, while admitting a child, can collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his or her parents or guardians to any screening procedure.

“In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, screening procedure means the method of selection for admission of a child in preference over another, other than a random method.”

“It is clear that under the RTE Act, only random method of admissions is permissible. Draw-of-lots should be used as a means for children’s admission,” said Agarwal.

“This method will not only ensure an equal opportunity to all children since they all have an equal right to education irrespective of their backgrounds, but also ensure transparency in the process if open draws-of-lots are conducted,” added Agarwal.

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