J&K HC notice to Govt on school admissions

The High Court has issued notice to Centre as well as J&K Government on the plea seeking revamping of policy adopted by the private schools with regard to admission at Nursery and Pre-school stage.

The division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice and Justice Sindhu Sharma issued notice to Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Chief Secretary of J&K UT, Principal Secretary of Education Department, Director School Education and Principals of various famous private schools of Valley including Presentation Convent, Delhi Public School Panthachowk, Delhi Public School Budgam, Burn Hall Srinagar, Mallinson Higher Secondary School and Tyndale BISCOE school Srinagar asking them to show cause as to why the matter be not admitted for hearing.

The notice for Principal Secretary to PM has been accepted by Union Counsel T A Shamsi and by officials of J&K has been accepted by counsel representing Education Department. Court directed for issuing notice to private schools.
Petitioner-Kaisar Ahmad Bhat submitted that the policy of admission at Nursery stage in other parts of the country and globally is dictated by the rule that the children should be 6 years of age by the time they reach 1st standard.

He added that no such definite policy is observed in the private schools in J&K. He said that pre-schools in the J&K start admission process for the children at the age of 3+ without exception.

“The authorities who are at the helm of affairs in this field are not taking cognizance of the issue and taking remedial measures some among them may have been giving warning of derecognizing the private schools which are not adhering to the following admission policy of admitting only 6 years old children in the Standard 1st”, he referred in the petition.

Referring the Right to Education Act, the petitioner added that the said Act is enabling legislation for fundamental right to education enshrined in the Article 21-A premised on the proposition that the schooling of the children from Standard 1st should begin from the age of 6.
He informed the court that private schools do not follow either the law or the pursuit of such policies in the admission of the children which will prove to be beneficial academically and cognitively for the children but on the contrary are taken over by the profiteering and commercial motives and want to make quick bucks as soon as possible.

He added that practice of seeking information relating to the financial strength of the parents of the children for admission is not only morally and ethically reprehensible itself but also appears to be only determining criteria for the admission of the children in the school.

Petitioner has referred the decision of Delhi Government in which schools have been directed not to ask for financial information from the parents and said same decision needs to be taken so that the pernicious practice is snuffed out and parents see their children educated in schools of their choice.

He prayed that officials be commanded to evolve a policy of admissions in private schools and private schools be prohibited from carrying admission on the existing policy.

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