The National Minority Commission for Educational Institutions (NCMEI) has granted minority institution status to Vivek High School, Sector 38, making it the 19th school in Chandigarh to have the tag. The NCMEI’s regional conference concluded in the city on Friday.
A minority school can draw up its own criteria for functioning. This is significant, specifically for the freedom that it gives to the school management to regulate admissions. A state government/UT administration cannot interfere in the day-to-day business or educational activities or processes of minority institute.
The school had approached the NCMEI for the grant of the status in 2012 after the UT education department objected to its application, claiming that the management had applied for the minority status only after the Right to Education Act was enacted. The Act mandates a school to admit a percentage of students under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) for free.
UT education department officials expressed disappointment over objections being ignored.
However, an elated Vivek High School chairperson HS Mamik said, “We had applied for the status in 2012 with the department. Then, they shunted us out, saying they did not have a nodal agency to look into the issue. It is then that we approached the commission directly.”
However, deputy director school education Chanchal Singh contradicted Mamik. “The school did not even approach the administration before going to the commission. We then filed a counter-affidavit and raised objections.”
Director school education (DSE) Rupinderjit Singh Brar said it was worrying that the school had been granted minority status, in spite of objections from the administration.
When questioned on not taking the UT administration’s view, Zafar Agha, a member of the NCMEI, said, “We did not receive any objection. If there is so much angst, the administration is free to file a review petition and we will look into it. We will open the case.”
UT education secretary couldn’t be reached, but the DSE said, “We have asked for the Supreme Court judgment which the commission has referred to while granting the minority status to the school. We will respond once we go through it.”
Mamik added, “The new commission members decided to expedite pending cases and therefore resolved the issue of our certificate. I am thankful to the commission.”