Relaxed norm for tag not acceptable: Minority schools

Difficult to get 25 pc of students from one community, they say

The Karnataka Unaided Schools Managements’ Association (Kusma) has said that even the relaxed norms of the State Cabinet for defining linguistic and religious minority status of schools are not acceptable to it. 

On Friday, the Cabinet decided that primary schools managed by linguistic and religious minority managements should have a minimum of 25 per cent of students belonging to minority communities to get the minority status. Only such institutions are exempt from the Right To Education Act clause of reserving 25 per cent of the seats for poor students. 

The Association, in a statement on Saturday, stated that the government’s new definition of ‘minority’ status is not acceptable. 

The 25 per cent clause would be unjust in a real-life situation. The population of a certain minority community in a village would be just a small percentage (2 to 3 per cent). Even if all children from that community attend such a minority school, the percentage would be less than 10, the association stated.

The association’s legal counsel K V Dhananjay said that there are hundreds of such schools and the 25 per cent clause would be unjust. For instance, he said, Indraprastha Vidyalaya in Uppinangady (Dakshina Kannada district) has been established by Konkani-speaking people. Almost all Konkani-speaking families in the town have enrolled their children at this school, but their numbers have not gone beyond 7 per cent of the school’s total strength. 

When asked as to why unaided schools should follow the government’s norm on admission when the Supreme Court has already ruled that minority institutions are out of the purview of the RTE, Dhananjay said, “It is the government alone which can decide the minority status of a school.”

The counsel said the government must to do away with the 25 per cent norm and the only requirement should be that the management is from the minority community. Going by the 25 per cent rule, less than 3 per cent of the unaided schools would be able to claim the minority tag. If the government does not drop its new condition, Kusma will be forced to approach court, he said.

Law Minister T B Jayachandra told Deccan Herald, “We have gone by the suggestion of the education department. The schools could not comply with the earlier norm of 75 per cent. Lowering it to 25 per cent would help more poor children get into private schools,” he said. 

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