After the Maharashtra State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights pulled up 17 city schools for denying admission to six-year old twin girls from a scheduled caste to Class 1, schools said they will admit students through the 25% quota under the Right to Education Act only from the entry level, mainly kindergarten.
The commission had stated that schools cannot turn away students approaching them for admissions to the quota up to Class 8. However, city schools say that unless the government issues a new order, they will continue to conduct admissions according to the March 15 state government notification.
“We are willing to offer a seat to the girls in Class 1 in the open category. We will not keep the 25% quota for all classes, as the notification has clearly stated it should be only at the entry level of the school,” said a representative of DAV School, Nerul, one of the schools named in the complaint.
PC Chhabra, principal of DPS School, Navi Mumbai said, “We will only provide RTE admissions to those students who live within 3km of the school and only in the pre-nursery level, the entry level for the school.”
Schools said parents often forged documents to be eligible for the quota. “Parents give wrong addresses or show that they live on rent near the school. We have to be careful,” Chhabra said.
“Unless the government gets strict with schools, poor students will not get admission in big schools and the Act will remain unfulfilled,” activist Avisha Kulkarni from Desh Bhakti Aandolan said.