Appointment of Special Education Teachers in Government & MCD run schools in Delhi for education of children for disabilities – Delhi High Court on 22.12.2010 in the matter of a contempt petition filed on behalf of Social Jurist, A Civil Rights Group against Delhi Chief Secretary and MCD Chief complaining violation of Delhi High Court order dated 16.09.2009 passed in W.P. (C) No. 6771/2005, directed Delhi Government and MCD to file their compliance report before 15.02.2011, the next date of hearing in the case.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Formal schools of Delhi may admit children at the age of 3+ yrs in pre-primary/nursery class in the academic year 2011-12 at their own peril as the same would be in violation of Delhi High Court Order of 26.09.2007 – Contempt petition against the Delhi Chief Secretary complaining failure on the part of the Delhi Government to implement Delhi High Court Order dated 26.09.2007 passed in PIL (W.P.(C) No. 12490 of 2006) ruling that there would be one year of pre-primary class only with minimum entry age of 4+ yrs therein for a child from the academic year 2008-2009 is pending in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court and the next date of hearing is fixed for 11.01.2011. In the meanwhile, the petitioner Social Jurist, A Civil Rights Group will be filing an additional affidavit in the Hon’ble High Court detailing a list of the formal schools which are going to admit children at the age of 3+ yrs in the pre-primary/nursery class in the forth coming academic year of 2011-2012.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
ALL INDIA PARENTS ASSOCIATION
AGARWAL BHAWAN, G.T.ROAD, DELHI-110054
Smt. Sonia Gandhi
National Advisory Council,
Government of India,
2, Motilal Nehru Place,
Subject: Stop Delhi Govt to violate RTE Act, 2009 in the matter of nursery admission criteria for admission of fee-paying students in unaided private schools.
Respected Smt. Soniaji,
We are seeking your intervention in an urgent matter where the Delhi Government by an order of 15.12.2010 has given totally free hand to all the unaided private schools of Delhi to formulate their own nursery admissions criteria based on categorisation of the children for admission in schools in the academic year 2011-12. It is submitted that the said order of Delhi govt is contrary to the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act, 2009) and would only lead to further commercialisation of education at the cost of hapless parents/students. Such categorisation of children is impermissible under RTE act 2009.
Madam, you are well aware of the fact that the fee-paying parents are already being exploited by the unaided private schools all over the country by subjecting them to arbitrary and exorbitant fee-hike every year. It is submitted that the AIPA has been demanding an enactment of a Central Law to regulate fee and other charges in unaided private schools all over the country.
We would like to bring to your notice that prior to the academic session 2006-07, there was no check at all on the unaided private schools of Delhi in the matter of admissions of children in nursery classes and the schools were unethically resorting not only to subjecting children of 3+ years age and the parents to written test and interview but also adopting totally discriminatory, non-transparent and unaccountable method of selection of children for admission. In this back drop, the issue was raised in the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in LPA No. 196/2004. The Hon’ble Delhi High Court by order dated 4.9.2006 constituted an experts committee known as ‘Ashok Ganguly Committee’ to look into the matter and make recommendations keeping in view three parameters, namely,
I) The entire process leading to admission of tiny tots should be transparent;
II) System of interview should be eliminated, &
III) Discretion of management or principal is minimised.
After the Ashok Ganguly Committee submitted its report to Hon’ble Delhi High Court, the Hon’ble Court by order dated 7.10.2006 directed schools to follow the criteria having been laid down by the Committee for admissions in the academic year 2006-07 on an experimental basis. Thereafter, the High Court by order dated 8.03.2007 asked the same committee to ‘fine tune’ the criteria in view of the experience of earlier criteria. Thereafter, the Committee submitted another report to the Hon’ble High Court thereby suggesting some changes in the earlier 100-points criteria. The Hon’ble Court asked the Delhi Govt to examine the report and take a decision thereupon. The Govt. of Delhi in its cabinet meetingof 3.9.2007 took decision on the report of the committee and placed a draft provisions before the Hon’ble Court and the Hon’ble Court in the view of the matter, disposed of the petition by order dated 19.11.2007 with right to the parties to approach and file appropriate application, if required. Thereafter, the Govt of Delhi notified the RECOGNISED SCHOOLS (ADMISSION PROCEDURE FOR PRE-PRIMARY CLASS) ORDER, 2007. In terms of the said Order of 2007, the unaided private schools were given freedom to formulate their own admission criteria based on 100-points system. It is submitted that though criteria based on the 100-points system was arbitrary, discriminatory and throughout remained a subject of controversy but the same has continued till date.
It is submitted that on coming into force of RTE Act, 2009 w.e.f. 01.04.2010, the prevailing criteria based on 100-points system is no longer valid. The RTE Act, 2009 expressly mandates random method only. Section 2(o) of the RTE Act, 2009 defines “screening procedure” means the method of selection for admission of a child, in preference over another, other than a random method. Section 13 (1) of RTE Act, 2009 mandates that “no school or person shall, while admitting a child collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his /her parents or guardian to any screening procedure. Section 13(2) of RTE Act, 2009 prescribes punishment against school/person who contravenes the provisions of Section 13(1) RTE Act, 2009.
It is unfortunate that the Delhi Govt instead of bringing regulations falling in the line of the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009 which not only completely prohibits “Screening Procedure” but also makes it an offence punishable at law, the Govt of Delhi by order of 15.12.10 has allowed the unaided private schools to have complete freedom to formulate its own criteria based on categorisation of the children in accordance to their policy which can include sibling, transfer case, single parents and alumni. It is submitted that the policy of the schools is to make money only.
It is submitted that the afore-mentioned order of Delhi Government permitting the unaided private schools to formulate their own admission criteria based on categorisation of children is not only unjust, arbitrary, irrational, non-transparent, discriminatory but also violates the provisions of RTE Act 2009 with impunity. Instead of eliminating the arbitrariness and the discretion of the schools and protecting the interest of hapless parents/children as desired by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court, the Government of Delhi has surrendered itself totally before the private schools lobby.
It is submitted that ‘neighbourhood + draw of lots’ is the only criteria which is just, scientific, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory and stands the test of the provisions of RTE Act, 2010. Any other criteria would be unjust, arbitrary, discriminatory, unconstitutional, anti-child-rights and also contrary to the intent and the object of the RTE Act, 2009.
It is submitted that despite wide-spread public opposition to the aforesaid decision of the Delhi Government, the Govt of Delhi is proceeding further with the said decision. Needless to say that the said decision of the Delhi Government has sent a wrong message to the entire country. Delhi being a national capital is expected to act as a role model but in the present case, unfortunately, it has set a very wrong precedent which is against public interest and opposed to public policy.
There is one more aspect to be brought to your notice. A controversy regarding what should be the minimum age of a child for entering into formal school system had been a subject matter of a PIL (WP (C) No. 12490/2006, Social jurist, A Civil Rights Group vs. Union of India and others) before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. In this case also, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court requested the Ashok Ganguly Committee to look into the matter and submit its recommendations. The said Committee placed its report before Hon’ble High Court recommending that children below 4 years of age should not be permitted to enter into formal school system and that it should be implemented from the academic year 2008-09 in all schools. Due to the intervention of Hon’ble High Court, the Government of Delhi accepted the recommendations of the Committee in entirety and made a commitment by way of an affidavit before the Hon’ble High Court to implement the same in its true letters and its spirits from 2008-2009. The afore-mentioned order of 15.12.2010 of Delhi Govt has totally over looked the said aspect of ‘entry age’ of children in school. The Hon’ble Education Minister of Delhi, Mr. Arvinder singh lovely has publically stated that entry age of children shall continue to remain as 3+ years. It is submitted that the Govt. of Delhi appears to have totally forgotten their obligation to protect the rights of the tiny tots. We have no hesitation to say that the Government of Delhi is only and solely looking after the commercial interests of the unaided Private schools and has utterly failed to protect the interest of the hapless parents and children.
It is, therefore, requested that you may please intervene in the matter and ensure that the Government of Delhi reconsiders their order of 15.12.2010 and modify the same in the light of afore-mentioned submissions.
Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
National President, AIPA
M – 09811101923
Friday, December 17, 2010
Advisor, Social Jurist