Harish Mehta (name changed) had never imagined that taking out his son from a Mussoorie boarding school to bring him to Delhi will make his life so stressful. He has spent the past two months visiting at least a dozen schools to get his son admitted to Class 6.
And he has faced everything, from screening tests for the child to parent interactions and demands for capitation fee — all of which are banned under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. It states that any screening test for a child for admission will attract a penalty of Rs. 25,000 for a first offence. A repeat offence will attract a penalty of Rs. 50,000.
Yet many schools continue with these practices. “Every school I went to asked my son to sit for a test or interview. After the matter was highlighted in HT, the schools started doing it clandestinely,” Mehta said.
And while the directorate of education is closely monitoring the nursery admission process, admission to classes other than the entry level (Nursery, KG and 1) are being conducted without keeping in mind RTE guidelines.
Usually, schools call parents for an informal chat with the child, who is then taken away to another room on the pretext of getting him acquainted him with the school. The children are then made to take tests, which can last up to three hours, Mehta said.
“If we complain, our child will not get admission anywhere. The schools are vindictive and word spreads. No one will entertain our application,” said Meenakshi Rawat, whose daughter got admission in a south Delhi school after sitting for a two-hour exam last year.
In the first two years of its formation, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights has received 10,000 complaints. Of these, 4,000 were on admission woes. Also, many do not report these violations as they fear no school will admit their child.