Delhi NGO says state-run schools are denying poor children admission for want of Aadhaar card, violating RTE Act

A non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Delhi claimed it has identified more than 400 students who have been denied admission to state-run schools.

Ashok Agarwal, president, All India Parents Association, said the association recently organised camps across a hundred locations in Delhi to identify students whose admissions have been denied by Delhi government schools on the grounds of being unable to submit sufficient documents relating to their age, identity, address and bank accounts.

“We have been receiving complaints that many government schools are denying admission to students on the grounds of not being able to submit sufficient documents. This act is a violation of the Right To Education Act, which mandates that admission to schools cannot be rejected on any grounds,” Agarwal added.

As per Section 13(1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE), while the admissions process is on, no school or person shall subject the child or his/her parents to any screening procedure. The NGO launched a statewide campaign to gather information about students denied admission.

Speaking about the campaign, which has been christened ‘School FIR Camp’, he said, “We appealed to lawyers, teachers, law students to work as volunteers and distribute hand bills appealing to inform us of their grievances. We also held temporary camps in more than 100 localities.”

 Delhi NGO says state-run schools are denying poor children admission for want of Aadhaar card, violating RTE Act

Representational image.

“It was the first camp of this sort and the success was overwhelming. We are also going to hold such camps in July. The number of students deprived of education may run into thousands,” he said.

He added that after completing the identification process, the NGO would move the Delhi High Court and seek that it instruct the government to admit these students left out in the cold.

As per the guidelines followed by the Delhi government, students are required to submit their Aadhaar card, address proof and bank account. "How can the government expect a poor child who does not even have a proper roof over his head to have address proof?" Agarwal asked. Significantly, to open a bank account and to apply for an Aadhaar card, an address proof is needed. A child not having address proof is unlikely to have an Aadhaar card or a bank account.

However, Shashi Kant Singh, principal of a co-ed school in Delhi, said the Aadhaar card is mandatory because many students receive money under government schemes in their bank accounts.

“If a student does not have his Aadhaar-linked bank account, how can one ensure that he does not have his name enrolled in another school and is drawing the same benefits?” he asked. He added that there are 11 schemes, including scholarship for minorities, under which students get money from government.

“I've come across many incidents where students having Aadhaar cards do not wish to disclose it as they are already admitted in other schools,” he added. But he said there are also instances where students cannot submit the required documents for admission for genuine reasons.

“In such cases, we check the available documents and write to the authorities to issue an Aadhaar card. In cases where minimum required documents are also not available, we accept Aadhaar card of a close relative or even that of the landlord and then link that number to his account. But I agree that many schools may not be making that much of an effort which may result in further difficulties for students seeking admissions,” he added.

Admissions to Delhi government schools from Class VI are on and likely to continue till 30 June. Agarwal said the problems aren't just limited to Class VI. “Many students in other classes are also facing problems due to the Delhi government's admission rules, which violate the Right to Education Act.”

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Updated Date: Jun 27, 2018 19:12:44 IST