In a recent case filed against a Chandigarh private school for not giving admission to an aspiring Class 11 student citing ‘low aptitude’ for the said stream, the Supreme Court (SC) made an important observation.
Although the petitioner lost the case, the SC in its order stated that ‘before parting with the order, it goes without saying that the students who study up to Class 10 in any school whether aided or non-aided, are entitled to get admission in Class 11 in the same school unless he or she declines before the admission is closed.
However, in which stream they are to be admitted, depends upon their merits and performance which shall be decided by the school authority”.
The observation is critical in the light of Class 11 admissions in UT schools, given that various students are admitted to Class 11 even before the Class 10 board exam results are declared, which in turn creates ambiguity among students and parents. Considered to be a common practice in other local private schools as well,
HT spoke to various school principals to get their views. Some schools continue to take the entire fee from the students even before the board exam results are out in May and do not refund the same, in case the need arises.
A local resident, parent of the student studying in a reputed private school (affiliated to CBSE) in Chandigarh, filed a writ petition against the school in the high court for not giving admission to the student who having studied in the same school for the past 13 years wished to continue his studies there itself.
Citing space constraint and limited seats in Class 11 as well as student’s low aptitude in coscholastic areas, the school said it could not give admission to the student in medical stream as per the student’s demand and suggested the child take admission in the commerce stream, to which the student categorically refused.
The student, however maintained, that he was denied admission in all streams, which is when the petitioner decided to move the SC as the petition was dismissed by the high court. The decision was upheld by the SC.
Class 11 admissions need a revamp?
In view of the observation, education secretary Sarvjit Singh told HT: “We will go by what the court has to say. I will tell the DPI (schools) to formally convey the same to schools.” Talking about the fee refund issue, he further said, “The education department had earlier also issued instructions in this regard. Needless to say, schools must only take fee post the last round of admissions even if that is post the board examination results. We will look into this.”
Infact, the then DPI (S) had issued a circular in 2009 warning all private schools to stop the practice of admitting students to Class 11 in the month of April on the basis of the pre-board examination. The department had also stated in case any school was still found guilty of the violation, it will be ‘intimated to the CBSE, New Delhi, for cancellation of affiliation’.
Principal of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, Gurnam Kaur Grewal, said, “There is a larger issue of human interest involved in this as students get attached to a particular environment when they have studied in a particular school for so many years. It’s unfair to deny admission to any student on the basis of extra-curricular.”
Principal of a local government school said, “Some private schools are too detached about this and fill admission seats in March itself, almost like a business deal.”
St John’s High School principal Kavita C Das spoke about the impracticality of admitting all students in Class 11. “It is practically impossible to admit all Class 10 students. We don’t have as many seats in Class 11 to accommodate all. The number of seats we have, we always take in our own children.”
Govt schools blame UT’S policy for class 11 admissions
RD Singh, principal of New Public School, Chandigarh. who claimed to follow UT policy for Class 11 admissions, said, “If the Chandigarh administration decides to change the policy and follow the centralised system, as an head of an institute I would follow that as well. The objection to Class 11 admissions is not something new.”
The UT policy for Class 11 admissions throws light on how the problem of ambiguous Class 11 admissions is not limited to private schools.
Principal, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16 Anujit Kaur, said, “It is unfortunate that the last round of admissions to Class 11 is still on when one set of exams have already been conducted. A set of students are bound to suffer due to this.”
President, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Teachers Welfare Association (SSATWA), Arvind Rana, said, “No school - government, aided or unaided can finalise the merit list for admission to 10+1 streams on the basis of pre-board results which is not recognised by CBSE. Many a times private schools use vague concepts of attitude and behaviour while giving admissions.”
However, CBSE had issued another circular in 2012 stating that ‘academically it was a correct practice’ to admit children to Class 11 in April so that ‘they may remain busy. Rana, said, “The circular nowhere states that a child can be denied admission on the basis of the pre-board results.”
Supreme Court’s observation
It goes without saying that students who study up to Class 10 in any school whether aided or non-aided, are entitled to get admission in Class 11 in the same school unless he or she declines before the admission is closed. However, in which stream they are to be admitted, depends upon their merits and performance which shall be decided by the school authority.