Schools Must Admit Certain Number Of Community Students For Minority Tag: Maharashtra Child Rights Body

Schools Must Admit Certain Number Of Community Students For Minority Tag: Maharashtra Child Rights Body

Claiming that schools are using minority tags to avoid complying with the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has advocated having minimum enrolment criteria for schools to be recognised as minority institutions.

Musab QaziUpdated: Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 01:02 AM IST
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Schools Must Admit Certain Number Of Community Students For Minority Tag: Maharashtra Child Rights Body. |

Mumbai: Claiming that schools are using minority tags to avoid complying with the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has advocated having minimum enrolment criteria for schools to be recognised as minority institutions.

In a recent meeting of officials from the state education department, Susieben Shah, chairperson of the commission said that they have received multiple complaints about many schools in the city and suburbs denying admission to children from marginalised sections under the RTE Act citing their linguistic or religious minority status.

She also questioned the presence of multiple minority-run schools within a specific locality despite the limited population of the respective minority groups in those areas.

“The state government should fix a minimum percentage for minority students while granting licenses to such schools by implementing the rules laid down by the central government for educational institutions with minority status,” said Shah.

The minority tag is granted to an educational institute administered by members of the particular minority group, with at least half of the trustees or directors of the institution belonging to the respective religious or linguistic community.

These institutes are allowed to reserve a maximum of 50% of their seats for students from the community, while they are also exempted from implementing social reservations for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. They are also excluded from having to reserve 25% of their entry-level seats for economically weaker and disadvantaged students.

However, Shah alleged that, in reality, at many of these schools, minorities form only a small fraction of the student community. If 1-2% seats of the total quota is kept for the minorities and rest seats are given at exorbitant fees, how will the minority community develop? The government needs to have some control over this, she said.

The commission’s insistence on a mandatory minimum enrolment criteria will likely face legal hurdles. In 2019, the Madras high court quashed a Tamil Nadu government order that said minority educational institutions should admit not less than 50% of students belonging to the community concerned every year to retain the status. The court had ruled that the state did not have the power to pass such orders under the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act, 2004.

Last year, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), the apex minority education regulator, had objected to the criteria fixed by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka mandating institutions to enrol between 25% and 50% students from a particular minority community for the grant of minority status.

The commission had asked the four states to align with its criteria that require an institution seeking the minority tag to have admitted at least the same percentage of students from a particular minority community that matches its population share in the respective state.

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