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Don't screen children, schools told

Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: Guidelines for admission into schools, issued under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, prohibit screening of children and interviewing their parents.

The guidelines issued by the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry have also asked the schools to adopt a random selection process. “The schools have to adopt an admission procedure which 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 a child or not.''

This procedure can include admissions based on a first-come, first-served basis or a lottery system, but interviewing parents and children will not be permitted. Institutions run by minority groups will also have to comply with these screening provisions in case these schools fall within the meaning of Section 2(n) of the Act.

However, institutions, including Madrasa and Vedic Pathshalas, especially serving religious and linguistic minorities, are out of the purview of the Act as they are protected under Article 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

These norms were formulated after the Ministry received representations from several unaided and aided schools seeking clarifications on the procedure to be followed for admission.

Accordingly, admissions to class 1 (or pre-primary class as the case may be) under Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act in unaided and ‘specified category' schools shall be through a system of random selection out of the applications received from children belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections for filling the pre-determined number of seats in that class, which should be not less than 25 per cent of the strength of the class.

For admission to the remaining 75 per cent of the seats (or a lesser percentage depending upon the number of seats fixed by the school) each school should formulate a policy under which admissions will take place.

As per the norms, this policy should include criteria for categorisation of applicants in terms of the objectives of the school on a rational, reasonable and just basis. There shall be no profiling of the child based on parental educational qualifications. The policy should be placed by the school in the public domain and given wide publicity.

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