Around 14 minority schools in South Mumbai have been served a show-cause notice by the zonal education department for not admitting even a single student of the respective minority group in the past three years. The department is planning to recommend that the minorities’ commission cancels their minority status.
According to the national minorities commission’s guidelines and a subsequent Supreme Court judgement, schools with the minority tag are supposed to admit 90% students from the respective minority group, said the department. Even 50% is acceptable.
Despite this, out of 127 minority schools in South Mumbai, 14 schools were found to have not admitted any minority students, while 73 had admitted only up to 35% over the last three years. Just, 14 schools had admitted 65% to 99% minority students.
Institutes with the minority tag enjoy exemptions from government rules such as 25% reservation under Right to Education (RTE) Act, reservation for scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) during recruitment.
“Institutions are given the minority status for conservation of religion or language, but data of the last three years showed that they have not enrolled many students from those groups,” said BB Chavan, education inspector, South Zone.
“If they are not following the terms and conditions of the status, why should they continue to enjoy the benefits?” said Chavan.
Chavan said that only 26 schools were found to have admitted 100% minority students.
Two of the Christian minority schools under the Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE), Sacred Heart School, Byculla and Our Lady of Dolours High School, Marine Lines have received notices. However, Fr George Athaide, secretary, ABE, said that they do not receive applications from a lot of Christian students in South Mumbai. “These schools are in areas where there are more schools and a small Christian population,” said Athaide.
The schools are also planning to get a legal opinion on the issue. “We will consult lawyers to find out if the status has been given based on the ratio of students or because the school is run by a minority group,” said Fr Francis Swamy, co-ordinator, Jesuit School Board.