With the nursery admission season nearing end and the UT officials busy monitoring the economically weaker section (EWS) reservations in the private schools, the issue of minority institutes has once again caught the limelight at the backdrop of the recently held conference of the National Minority Commission for Educational Institutions (NMCEI) in Chandigarh.
While the UT has stated that the minority institutes have to enrol EWS students as per their land allotment scheme, the commission says reservation under the EWS quota is not applicable to the minority institutes as the Right to Education Act does not apply to them.
Talking to HT, Zafar Agha, NMCEI member, said, “As per a Supreme Court judgment on a petition filed in May 2014 ( Pramati Educational and Cultural Trust and others vs Union of India and other), the RTE Act is not applicable to the minority schools.” He added that by the virtue of this, the minority schools are not liable to give admission to the EWS students, in fact no reservation for that matter — be it SC/ST, OBC students.
Contesting the issue, the estate department officials have stated time and again that the minority schools will have to enrol students under the EWS quota (be it even just 5% or more) in sync with their land allotment scheme.
Director school education (DSE) Rubinderjit Singh Brar said, “Though there hasn’t been a consensus between the department and the commission on this issue, we will be going ahead with the procedure to ensure the minority schools enrol EWS kids as the land allotment scheme can’t be ignored.”
Officials in the department are also concerned that with an increasing number of schools getting minority status — considering easier guidelines — it will be difficult for students from the economically weaker background to get admissions in Chandigarh.
Sources also said the estate office will now review the decision, and is mulling to take the minority schools to court in case they didn’t adhere to the norms. In fact, several teams had been formed to carry out inspections in schools to monitor the EWS admissions.
Kriti Garg, sub-divisional magistrate (south), who is a member of one of the four committees, said, “The schools have been asked to submit the details via a self-declaration, soon after which we will carry out the inspection, and in case norms are not followed, a suitable action will be taken.”
Meanwhile, the UT education department is at loggerhead with the minority body over the procedure for seeking minority status by the UT schools.