To avoid RTE norms, schools scramble for minority tag

Surge in such applications after landmark law was enforced in State

As awareness among parents about the Right To Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act increases, more and more unaided schools are scr­­­am­bling to get themselves classified as ‘minority’ institutions, to whom the said law does not apply.

 

Last year, the Directorate of Urdu and Other Minority Language Institutions under the Department of Public Instruction received applications from as many as 68 schools in Bangalore and Mysore divisions to be declared minority institutions. 

In 2012, the number of schools seeking the minority tag was just six. 

But the directorate has rejected every application. “While we rejected all applications for one reason or another, there has been a surge in the number of such applications ever since the RTE Act was implemented in the State,” an official in the directorate said on the condition of anonymity. 

Even schools, where just a handful of minority students have been enrolled, have applied for the minority tag. 

St Ann’s Girls High School, Ramnagar, applied for the minority tag on June 26, 2013, even though just six per cent of its students are from the minority background. A school under the CMR Jnanadhara Trust in ITPL, Bangalore, applied for minority status on February 19, 2013, but the application was rejected as it follows Central syllabus. 

But having said that, the State government cannot declare any school, no matter how genuine, a minority institution as the matter is sub judice. 

In 2012, the government had changed the definition of minority institutions from those having 50 per cent or more minority students to those that have at least 75 per cent such students. Some institutions challenged the government order in court. 

“We are in such a situation that we can neither move forward nor go back. To process applications, we need at least a stay order from the court. The Cabinet should take up the matter as it requires an amendment to the Karnataka Education Act,” said Rajkumar Khatri, Principal Secretary, Primary and Secondary Education. 

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