An elite Bandra school has left out localities like Kurla, Nehru Nagar from its admission list even though they are less than three kilometers away, complained parents.
A list of pin codes for applying to Vasudev C Wadhwa Arya Vidya Mandir School, Bandra East, put up on the AVM Group of Institutions website, doesn’t include 400024, the pin code for areas in Kurla east, Kurla west and Nehru Nagar.
Areas further than Kurla such as Matunga, Dadar, Prabhadevi and even those far from the school like Santacruz, Vile Parle and Wadala, have been mentioned.
School authorities said that it was left out because school records showed they didn’t get any student from these areas in the past. “When fixing the pin codes, we studied the data available with us on where we have gotten our students from in the past few years. But we didn’t find any applications coming from that area so it wasn’t mentioned in the list,” said Avinash Datta, honorary general secretary of the AVM society. “It wasn’t done for any other reason.”
Adding that if a student from Kurla was interested in applying for admission, they can approach the school or drop a message on their website, Datta said, “If parents have a problem they can write to us on our website.”
But education activists called such practices attempts to exclude students whose family income levels or social groups don’t match with others.
Jayant Jain, president of the Forum for Fairness in Education, said that under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, schools must admit children within a radius of 1.5 to three kilometers. “If the school wants to treat all children equally, they shouldn’t leave out any locality falling in their vicinity,” said Jain. “What’s the harm in mentioning a pin code? It’s up to the parents whether or not to apply.”
In July last year, Jia Dhulgaj, 8, whose parents work as janitors was turned away from 13 schools because of their profession, dress and inability to speak. She was later given admission in a Santacruz school after a widespread social media campaign by a well-wisher.