A group of parents has accused the Antonio De Souza High School in Byculla of "intentionally" failing more than 150 students in Class 9 this year. They alleged that the large number of students had been failed to ensure a good pass percentage in the school's Class 10 results.
Earlier this month, the group, supported by a student wing of a political party, approached the south zone education inspector and sought an inquiry into the matter.
"We received a complaint from parents," said MK Tithe, deputy education inspector, south zone. "But since the school principal is on leave, we are unable to access the results of the detained students. We have asked the principal to report to us immediately. We will set up a committee within the next two days."
School principal Father Denzil Fernandes, who is on leave, was unavailable for comment.
Father Gregory Lobo, head of the Archdiocesan Board of Education, which governs the school, said that though he was not aware of how many students were detained in Class 9 by the school, he was not surprised to hear of the "high failure rate".
"If the government wants to promote every student till Class 8, students are bound to fail in Class 9. It is high time the education department takes this seriously," Lobo said.
Lobo was referring to a clause in the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which provides that no student can be failed till Class 8.
Educationists and principals claim that students have been taking advantage of this clause and barely study till Class 8 and when they reach Class 9 many students cannot cope with the syllabus.
The RTE Act came into force in April 2010.
The Byculla School declared the Class 9 results on April 30. Parents alleged that they tried seeking an explanation from the school but got no response from the principal.
"My son has scored 53% but has failed in math. He has not been promoted to Class 10. The school can take a re-exam and give a second chance to my son," said a parent of a student of Class 9.