Thanks to Right to Education Act, 2009, every fourth private school in UT has minority status now.
With three more private schools in Chandigarh recently granted the minority status by National Commission for Minority Educational Institutes (NCMEI), the number of school with minority status has increased to 17 out of 69 recognised private schools.
The spurt in schools with minority status in UT has been witnessed soon after the apex court directions in 2012 which ruled that schools having the minority status are not bound to reserve 25% of their seats in entry level classes under RTE Act.
Since then, six local schools have managed to get the desired minority status including Kids-R-Kids School, Sector 42, Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector-41 and Sector 45, which were recently granted Sikh minority status by NCMEI
The number is set to swell further as case of Vivek High School, Sector 38 and St. Kabir, Sector 26 is already pending before the commission and will come up for hearing next month in September.
Another school- Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36 is also in the race of getting minority status after its name was recently recommended to the NCMEI by the education department. As
Major implication of all those schools with minority status is that they are no more under compulsion to comply with the directions of the RTE act or the education department.
Even they are at their will to decide their own admission criteria and further fee structure that might conflict with the larger public interest, who are already not satisfied with the level of transparency during the time of admission.
City based RTE activist Pankaj chandgothia said that all schools, who sought or were granted minority status after Supreme Court judgement, only aimed at exemption from the applicability of RTE Act, rather than seeking minority status per se.
"If they were minority, why did not they seek that status soon after they were established? It raises the moot question of their intention," he said.
Paramjeet Grewal, manager of Kids R Kids, which came up in 2002 and recently got the minority certification, opposed this argument and said that their school was minority from the day it established. However it was just recently that they were certified minority by the NCMEI.
He rubbished the claimed that schools were applying for the minority status to be exempted from RTE act.
Many however feel that education has also failed to oppose the grant of minority in Minority in NCMEI court, paving the easy way for them.
The department filed the reply in case of Vivek High School, Sector 38 and St Kabir School, Sector 26 but other schools had easy run in securing the minority certificate from the NCMEI.
When contacted, DPI (s) Kamlesh Kumar, he said that it was not healthy move seeing so many schools being granted the minority status. It will affect the future of under-privileged children, who will not get admission in these institutions by virtue of their minority status. "I would be happy if the management of such schools come forwards generously and help the poor students.