In a blatant violation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, private schools in the city continue to conduct interviews for admissions in kindergarten.
However, section 13(1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act provides that while admitting a child, no school or person shall subject the child or his/her parents to any screening procedure. Section 2(o) of the Act defines the term ‘screening procedure’ to mean the ‘method of selection for admission of a child, in preference over another, other than a random method’.
This has been done to ensure that schools adopt an admission procedure which is non-discriminatory, rational and transparent and that schools do not subject children and their parents to admission tests and interview in order to decide whether they will admit a child or not. Admission tests and interviews are generally a tool for profiling and eliminating children, and therefore, screening to assess a child’s intelligence should be prohibited.
Amit Joshi, a parent, said, “When I visited two prominent city schools to collect the forms last week, I was shocked to know that my son has to appear for interview. During one of the interviews, my son was asked to name fruits and animals and he replied, but even then he was not able to get admission. He was also interviewed in the other school, but he could not secure admission.”
Another parent Simran Kaur said, “I do not understand that why schools conduct interview for kindergarten admissions as a child is too small for it. One of the private schools conducted interviews recently and out of 12 students of the same preschool only one student was not able to get admission. I was upset as my son was left out despite answering all the questions asked by the teacher.”
It has been learnt that most of the preschools in the city conduct mock tests to prepare students for interviews in main schools and no authority neither the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) nor the state government is taking any steps to stop this practice.
During an interview for admission to kindergarten in a school, children are asked to identify fruits, flowers, birds and animals. In a written test, they are asked to write alphabets, numbers and solve puzzles.
RJ Khanderao, CBSE regional head, Panchkula, said, “As per the RTE Act, the schools cannot conduct interviews for kindergarten classes. I have received no directions from Delhi to take any action against schools that are conducting interviews.”