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Why are Chandigarh schools running after minority status?

Here’s why there’s such a scramble to seek minority status.

punjab Updated: May 17, 2017 18:09 IST
Ifrah Mufti
Ifrah Mufti
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Schools in Chandigarh,Minority status,Right to Education
Vivek High School, Sector 38, is one of 11 schools that applied for minority status after 2012.(HT File Photo)

As many as 22 of 82 private schools in the union territory are ‘minority’ schools. Out of these, 11 schools opted for the minority status after the Supreme Court in 2012 ruled that the minority schools are not bound to reserve 25% of their seats in entry level classes under Right to Education (RTE) Act. Many of these schools didn’t even bother to get no objection certificate from the Chandigarh education department and applied directly to the national commission for minority educational institutions (NCMEI) for a minority status. Here’s why there’s such a scramble to seek minority status.

What is a minority institute?

Minority educational institution means a school, college or institution (other than a university) established or maintained by a person or a group of persons from among the minorities. The Supreme Court has held that in order to claim the benefit, the community must show it is a religious/ linguistic minority and that the institution was established by it.

Are these schools following the rules?

Only two of the 22 minority schools -- Guru Nanak Public School and Sri Guru Harkrishan senior secondary schools – have followed the rule of getting NOC by the UT education department. All other schools applied directly to NCMEI for their statutes.

List of schools in Chandigarh with ‘minority’ status
  • Sacred Heart Senior Secondary Schools, Sector 26
  • Carmel Convent School, Sector 9
  • St John’s High School, Sector 26
  • Little Flower School, Manimajra
  • Mount Carmel School, Sector 47
  • Saupin’s School, Sector 32
  • New Public School, Sector 18
  • St Anne’s Convent School, Sector 32
  • St Kabir Public School, Sector 26
  • St Joseph School, Sector 44
  • Chandigarh Baptist School, Sector 45
  • St Mary’s School, Sector 46
  • Sri Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary School, Sector 38
  • Ryan International School, Sector 49
  • St Xavier School, Sector 44
  • Kids-R-Kids School, Sector 42
  • Ajit Karam Singh International Public School Sector (AKSIPS) 41, AKSIPS 45
  • Vivek High School, Sector 38
  • Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36
  • Sri Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary School, Sector 40
  • St Stephen’s School, Sector 45.

As many as 11 schools applied for minority status after 2012. These include Mount Carmel School, Saupin’s School, New Public School, St Kabir Public School, Kids-R-Kids School, AKSIPS-41, AKSIPS-45, Vivek High School-38, St Stephen’s School, Guru Nanak Public School and Guru Harkrishan.

How does minority status benefit schools?

As per the Right to Education Act 2009, recognised private schools are bound to give admissions to 25% of their seats to students from

economically weaker section (EWS). In 2014, the Supreme Court exempted minority educational institutions from giving this reservation. The schools have been clearly opting for minority status to circumvent the RTE Act

and the obligations under it. These schools claim to have got a minority status such that they can give reservation to the students of their community.

Is the UT education department doing anything about it?

The UT education department had raised strong objections, twice, against Vivek High School and St Kabir School stating that the schools are vying for the minority status to avoid reserving 25% seats for EWS students. However, NCMEI granted the minority status to both the schools after making them wait for many years.

What do officials say?

A senior UT official said the clause mentioned by the NCMEI goes against them. It says if the schools are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), then the NOC is not required from the UT education department. The administration is weighing legal options.

Also read | By the wa: Who’s responsible for Right to Education? Ask the administration

First Published: May 17, 2017 15:03 IST