Parents applying for preschool admission at Queen Mary’s school, Girgaum were irked by the school’s decision to admit only those children who live in areas such as Malabar Hill, Kemps Corner and Cumballa Hill. This is the second instance in a week of a school issuing such a circular.
A few days ago, parents had protested against a decision by St Anne’s School, Colaba, to restrict admissions to children living in Peddar Road, Malabar Hill and nearby areas.
“The school is merely following the rules listed in the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which say that children from the neighbourhood should be given the first preference,” said an administrative officer from Queen Mary’s school.
With the school earmarking specific areas for admission, anxious parents said it would be difficult to get their child admitted to another school that is not in the same area. “It seems the school wants only elite children. At this rate, my child will not get an admission anywhere,” said a Byculla resident, whose place of residence doesn’t feature in Queen Mary’s list of preferred areas.
While both schools claimed that they were following RTE guidelines, the state government has yet to notify the rules governing the implementation of the Act. “The Act is applicable for children from the age group of six to 14 years and pre-schoolers do not fall under this age group. The state government says the Act has to be applicable for pre-school children too,” said Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education. Schools, too, are waiting for a government directive. “We have issued forms to all children irrespective of the area they reside in. Unless we get a clear picture from the government, we can’t make our own rules,” said Paul Machado, principal of Campion School, Colaba.