25% Free Admission Reservation Analysis of Maharashtra Rules Admission and Selection Procedures Entitlements of Admitted Children Suggested Revisions and the Way Forward Dr. John Kurrien Action For Rights Of The Child (ARC) Pune August 2013
RTE Act and Provision for 25% Free Admission in Schools A school specified in sub-clauses (iii) and (iv) of clause (n) of section 2 shall admit in class I, to the extent of at least twenty-five per cent, of the strength of that class, children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourbood and provide free and compulsory elementary education till its completion: Provided further that where a school specified in clauses (n) of section 2 imparts pre-school education, the provision of clauses (a) to (c) shall apply for admission to such pre-school education
Main Issues in 25% Free Admission in Schools in Maharashtra Who are the eligible children? Which types of schools must reserve 25% free admission or more? Admission and selection procedures Entitlements of admitted children The way forward suggested steps
Two Categories of Children Eligible in National RTE Act and Amendment Disadvantaged Group Children from SC and ST, children with disability specified in 2012 Amendment, and any other disadvantaged group specified by the State Government Weaker Section as defined by income definition provided by State government Both categories of children- from disadvantaged groups and weaker sections - are eligible for 25% free admissions. States to prescribe the specific eligibility rules for both categories.
Eligible Children for 25% Free Admissions in Maharashtra State Rules Disadvantaged Groups Children belonging to Scheduled Castes(SC) and Scheduled Tribes(ST) Children with disability as specified in Sections 3 and 4 of the 2012 Amended Act Weaker Sections Children belonging to VJNT, OBC, SBC, and religious Minorities specified by State Government, and annual income of whose parent or guardian is below one lakh rupees
Lack of Clarity in Maharashtra 25 % Reservations Rules 1. In definition of weaker sections, it is unclear whether child is eligible: If parent earns less than 1 lakh,but is not VJNT/OBC,etc.., If parent is VJNT/OBC.etc.., but is a crorepati Only if parent is VJNT/OBC and also earns less than 1 lakh 2.Who belongs to Religious Minorities? Is there a Maharashtra State Government list ? Need to specify. 3. Is income level of Rs1 lakh only of one parent/guardian ? Delhi Rules, for example, state that the combined income of parents from all sources should be less than Rs.1 lakh
Difficulties in Implementing Preference for Girls as Stated in Maharashtra 25% Free Admission Rules 1.Giving girls preference, provides no implementation guidelines 2. After a lottery for selecting students from a pool, if girls are in a tiny minority, should selected boys be excluded to make way for girls who did not appear in the final list? 3. Should preference mean that the final list of selected students always has to have a majority of girls?
Suggestions of Categories to Constitute Pool of Children Eligible in Maharashtra for 25% Free Admissions 1. Disadvantaged - SC,ST and children with disability 2. Weaker Section -Child whose both parents or guardian has annual income of below 1 lakh rupees from all sources There is no ambiguity or lack of clarity in the above two categories -disadvantaged groups and weaker sections. Students should be selected by lottery from this combined pool of eligible children. No preference to be given to girls as this cannot be implemented.
Clarification on Schools Exempt under Maharashtra Rules from 25 % Admissions
Schools Exempt from 25% Provision Unaided minority schools Madrassas, Vedic Pathsalas and Educational Institutions primarily imparting religious instruction The Maharashtra State Rules specifies that all other schools in the state are not exempt from the 25% provision
Suggestions Additional Exemption to be Incorporated in Maharashtra Rules For boarding/residential schools, the 25% rule does not apply to schools admitting students higher than Class 1. Also rule applies only to day scholars, and not boarders, in these schools. This is based on guideline of MHRD, who were asked by the Supreme Court to clarify this issue.
Rationale for Clarifications on Minority unaided Schools and 25% Free Admissions The 2012 Supreme Court judgment exempted minority unaided schools from the provisions of the Act itself. Since then, many unaided schools in Maharashtra and elsewhere have been attempting to get minority status through all kinds of questionable means. Lack of clarity on what constitutes minority schools and related issues.
Clarifications that are Required on Minority Unaided Schools and 25% Free Admissions What constitutes a minority school? Can it be different in Maharashtra from other states? What is the role of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions in certifying a minority school? Which government institution in Maharashtra certifies minority status? On what basis? Does the Department of Education/SSA have an updated list of minority aided and unaided schools?
Further Clarifications Required in Maharashtra Rules on Minority Schools in Maharashtra that Receive Some Government Assistance Does 25% rule apply also to minority schools who have got concessions by way of land, subsides on electricity, etc., but not teacher and administration salaries? Does this make them minority-aided schools? Does the smallest government subsidy to a minority school make for a minority-aided school that has to provide 25% free admissions?
Admission and Selection Procedures
Current Admission and Selection Procedures for Implementing the 25% Provision based on Individual School-Based Process Current process in Maharashtra in which individual schools are entrusted with both admission and selection procedures from provision of admission forms to selection by lottery.
The Disadvantages of the Individual School-based Admission Process Experience in Maharashtra and elsewhere indicates that : Many parents are unaware of which school they can apply to, or are intimidated by the process. Some parents apply to a number of schools to maximise their chance of getting their child into one school. Spend considerable number of days in this process-loss of income for daily wage earners Spend additional time as private schools are uncooperative, obstructionist and demand money, and unnecessary documents like proximity certificates
The Disadvantages of the Individual School-based Admissions Process Experience in Maharashtra and elsewhere indicates that : Many private schools are refusing admissions in their preprimary sections, levying all kinds of illegal charges and fees, and refusing to admit children under the 25% reservations using a variety of means Corruption has already entered in the process at the school- level, and can only go up as the number of applicants increase Principals and management are being pressurised to admit ineligible students Private schools do not have the manpower or expertise to deal with admission forms, caste and income documents, or proximity of residence to school
Suggested Option Centralised Admissions and Selection Process Centralised admissions and selection procedures where the entire process is carried out by the local/state education department. The basic features of this scheme provided in the next slide has been outlined first by Parth Shah and Shekhar Mittal, Centre For Civil Society
Some Features of Centralised Admissions Process 1. A public lottery in one hall on a specified date attended by media, parents and education officials. 2.Two lotteries to be conducted preferably on same day. 3. First school level lottery for students who had given the school as preference. 4. Student level lottery for students not selected, and given a rank for schools 5. The final 25% reserved school wise list to be published by local /state education department
The Advantages of the Centralised Admissions Option 1. Parents would welcome it - cheaper, less corrupt, less frustrating and time-consuming 2. Most schools would welcome this administrative burden removed from their hands, as well as interference from outsiders using any means to admit their candidates 3. Local education departments more capable of dealing with income and caste documents 4. Maharashtra Government has experience of dealing with student choice for admissions into junior college
Residence Location Criteria for 25% Free Admissions
Why Residence Location Criterion of 1 Km and 3 kms for Extended Neighbourhood Should be Replaced in Maharashtra Rules One km for primary school and 3 kms for upper primary schools, as stated in the Maharashtra Rules, is a norm for the provision of neighbourhood school. It was conceived of decades ago focusing on rural schools. It should not be used also as the criterion for selecting the 25% category of students Limits choice of poor urban or rur