There is some churning that is going on in our school campuses.
That has to do with a recent Supreme Court judgement which upheld the Right to Education Act.
Among many things, the law enables children to gain admission to schools of their choice, provides equitable facilities to poor and reserves seats for economically weak even in private schools. The Act was passed two years ago and many schools were reluctant to implement it.
They will not be able to do so anymore. So what is happening on the campuses of Mylapore schools?
We did the rounds of a few and this is what we observed.
Most schools have started distributing their admission forms for the next academic year. Admission is open at the entry level.
“The admission process at our school has begun,” says S. Bhooma, Principal of P. S. Matric School, R. K. Mutt Road. “We will be allotting seats as and when the students gain admission,” she adds.
“The government has asked us to start the admission process only in May but we may start shortly,” says Magaiyakarasi, Head Mistress of Rani Meyyammai Girls School, R. A. Puram
There are certain criteria that the school needs to follow while admitting a student under this Act, says Ramji, trustee, P. S. Charities and Education Society.
One of the important criteria is that the students can be admitted only in the entry level, he added.
For instance at P. S. High School, R. K. Mutt Road and Rani Meyyamai Girls School, R. A. Puram the entry level is Std.6.
Both the schools have English and Tamil medium.
Schools like these will be pushed when parents begin to demand admission to English medium sections.
Managements do not want to discuss the issue though.
The Act encourages neighbourhood kids to go to local area schools.
The students should be a resident within 1 km radius of the school and the family income should be less that Rs.2 lakhs, says S. Bhooma of P. S. Matric School. “Schools like ours already educate poor, local kids. So we don’t have issues.”
But some top end schools refused to even acknowledge our phone calls. When pushed, they remained diplomatic.
“This Act is not very clear,” says Aruna, Headmistress of Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya School, Mylapore, which follows the CBSE syllabus.
“We have completed the 75% admission for the lower KG school, if we get any students under this quota we will be admitting them.”
Mylapore and San Thome has a number of non – aided minority schools which have been exempted from this Act. Managements here seem less hassled.
Schools like Rosary Matric for Girls and Montfort Matric School in San Thome.
Many schools have a few challenges on their hands.
If the entry level in a school is class 6 and the newly admitted student shifts from Tamil to English medium, schools have to create training to upgrade their language skills.
“Our school will not be able to provide any special coaching for such students,” says Ramji, trustee, P. S. Charities and Education Society.
Magaiyakarasi of Rani Meyyamai Girls School says that most parents are not aware of the RTE Act. “Therefore the migration to high-end schools will be less or nil, ” she says.
Meanwhile, parents who are well-informed and want to make the best of the opportunity, are facing hurdles. Many relate to gaining admission in English medium streams.
A woman who wanted to admit her son in San Thome High School in class 6 English medium has had a frustrating time. “My son has been studying in the Tamil medium till class 5 and now I am not able to get him into English medium. The school offers a seat in Tamil medium,” she said.
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