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Bhavan to put students through test torture for Class 6 admissions

As per an advertisement published by Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, in a local daily on December 18, the school will be holding a written test for admission to Class 6 in February next year.

punjab Updated: Dec 22, 2015 11:22 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times
Bhavan Vidyalaya,Right to Education Act,Vineeta Arora
An advertisement issued by Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, Chandigarh, in a local daily on December 18.

As per an advertisement published by Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, in a local daily on December 18, the school will be holding a written test for admission to Class 6 in February next year.

This clearly violates Section 13 of the Right to Education Act that bans any form of screening of child or parents for admission to Classes 1-8 (6 to 14 years), said RTI activist and advocate HC Arora.

As per the advertisement, the ‘registrations are open for admission to Class 6 from December 21, 2015, to January 23, 2016’. It further states that the last date for submission of forms is Saturday, January 23, 2016, and that the ‘admission on the basis of written test would be on Sunday, February 7, 2016’.

As if that was not enough, even as per guidelines issued by the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) issued in November 2010, the objective of the provisions of Section 13 (1) read with Section 2(0) is to ensure that schools adopt an admission procedure that is non-discriminatory, rational and transparent and that schools do not subject children and their parents to admission tests and interviews in order to decide whether they will admit the child or not. It further states that ‘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’.

When HT contacted Bhavan Vidyalaya principal Vineeta Arora, she said the test was being held only to determine the intelligence level of the kids who apply or ‘else how would one know whom to shortlist or select?’. “We hold the test in a very democratic way though,” Arora added. While the education secretary claimed that he hadn’t received any complaints in this regard so far, DPI(S) Rubinderjit Singh Brar said the department will examine the matter.

Bhavan not the only one

Having received complaints from parents about some other schools about the same, HT did a reality check by calling up these schools to verify the same. While the receptionist at Delhi Public School, Chandigarh, also claimed that a written test is held once documents and mark sheets of previous class and the current class’s last term are submitted to the school. The school principal was, however, unavailable for comment due to ill-health.

Similarly, Saupin’s School authorities also accepted the same. Chairman Amarbir Singh Sidhu said, “We do have written tests for classes above 1 and the RTE only applies to the pre-primary and primary classes and hence it’s not a violation.” He further added that since the school had claimed minority status, the RTE wasn’t applicable to them.

On the other hand, social activist Hemant Goswami said, “The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of the RTE Act and in a split verdict has only exempted unaided minority schools from the clause of admitting 25% students from the disadvantaged section of the society. However, all other clauses of the RTE are applicable equally to all schools, whether minority or others.”

On the other hand, while a parent claimed that Chitkara International also screens children and parents’ identity during admission to Classes 1 to 8, principal Niyati Chitkara said, “We simply hold a diagnostic assessment of a child. We don’t let it impact the admission into the school.” Advocate HC Arora also said, “A child’s definition is from 6 to 14 years and hence, any school holding written test for classes above 1 is engaging in something illegal. It is completely prohibited under the RTE Act.”

What the Act states

No school or person shall, while admitting a child, collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his or her parents or guardian to any screening procedure Any school or person, subjects a child to screening procedure, shall be punishable with a fine that may extend to Rs 25,000 for the first contravention and Rs 50,000 for each subsequent contravention.

First Published: Dec 22, 2015 11:20 IST