BMC school denies admission to 7 students
Seven students from Dharavi, Mumbai, who were expelled from private schools for nonpayment of fees, have been denied admission to a BMC-run school despite legal provisions. The parents of the affected students, who are daily wage workers, sought help from the civic body's education officer and the child rights commission, but were unsuccessful. The private school management refused to issue school leaving certificates until the pending fees were cleared. The parents then approached the BMC-run school, but the principal asked the children to take an exam before admission and ultimately refused them entry.
Mumbai: Seven students from Dharavi who were expelled by private schools for nonpayment of fees have been denied admission in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)-run school despite legal provisions to the contrary. Parents of the affected students, all daily wage workers, approached the civic body’s education officer and the child rights commission, but were not able to secure justice.
The matter first came to light when the parent of a fifth-grade student visited the private school in January after the principal informed him that his child would not be allowed to sit for exams due to non-payment of fees. “I requested them for some more time, but my dues were pending for the past three years. After inquiring, I learned that in all, seven students from the school studying in classes 2–9 were facing the same problem,” said the parent.
The aggrieved parents approached the management of the private school and requested them to issue school leaving certificates for their children. But the management denied this request, asking them to clear the pending fees first. The parents then approached the BMC-run City of Los Angeles school in Matunga.
“We were hoping that since this was a BMC school, our children would get admission easily, as per the rules,” said another parent. According to the government resolution dated December 6, 2022, and the BMC circular dated July 30, 2021, all government schools must admit students without insisting on the mandatory transfer certificate or leaving certificate.
“But our experience was very bad, as the principal asked the children to appear for an examination before giving admission,” the parent said. Five out of the seven students appeared for the examination, but even then, the principal refused them admission, he added.
Keen to resolve the matter, one of the parents approached Shrinava Kuchan, a local social worker. Kuchan wrote to the Maharashtra State Student Parents Federation (MSSPF), saying the BMC-run City of Los Angeles school had denied admission to the students for want to school leaving certificates despite rules to the contrary. The social worker also highlighted the mental stress of the students, saying that after they failed to secure admission, a student each from class 3 and 9 did not appear for the examination due to fear.
Nitin Dalvi, Mumbai president of the MSSPF, took up the matter with the BMC’s education officer, but even this did not help. “Though the BMC education officer gave oral directions to admit these students, the local officer was not ready to implement it,” said Dalvi. “This act is a violation of the Right to Education Act. Besides, the headmistress of the school has also violated the government’s decision to admit out-of-school students immediately without asking the school leaving certificate,” he noted.
Dalvi subsequently requested the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Susiben Shah to intervene in the matter, but to no avail.
HT reached out to education officers in the BMC, but they did not respond to requests for comment.