Dharavi Students Reportedly Denied Admission in BMC School Due to Financial Issue
By Lokmat English Desk | Published: February 10, 2024 09:29 PM2024-02-10T21:29:13+5:302024-02-10T21:29:58+5:30
Seven students from Dharavi were reportedly denied admission to a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) school after they were unable ...
Seven students from Dharavi were reportedly denied admission to a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) school after they were unable to continue at their previous private schools for non-payment of fees. This situation has sparked concerns regarding potential violations of the Right to Education Act, which mandates free and compulsory education for children aged 6 to 14. However, the BMC school has provided a contrasting version of events, indicating that they have not denied these students access to education.
Iqra Sayyed, one of the affected children, was forced to leave his private school in August due to financial constraints. Her mother, Ruksana, explained that they tried enrolling him in the City of Los Angeles BMC School in January, but they were asked to wait until June. Now, the school refuses admission altogether, jeopardizing his academic year.
Iqra lives in the Dharavi Labour camp along with his parents and went to a private school in the locality. "Teachers asked us to come in June. If we do that my children's year will get wasted. In August, due to money problems, we couldn't afford school. When got to know about this school, we tried to get admission. The school took the exam of my child and asked him a table of 13, and many more. He couldn't tell so teachers asked to come in June," said Ruksana Sayeed, mother of Iqra.
At least six other students, hailing from the Dharavi labour camp, encountered similar challenges. Dharavi social activist Shrinivas Kunchan said, "Around January 26th, I came to know these children had to discontinue their education due to financial constraints. So, I took them for enrollment at the City Los Angeles BMC School. However, some parents were hesitant due to the distance from their homes. There are over 100 children in Dharavi who dropped out due to financial constraints and not returning to education. So, Teachers of BMC school must admit them even if they don't know anything, otherwise they might lose their interest in studies."
Denial of admission has a significant impact on these children, potentially discouraging them from pursuing education and fueling negative attitudes towards the education system. Their parents, facing financial struggles and unaware of their legal rights, feel helpless in ensuring their children's educational access.
However, the school has its own version of this. The City of Los Angeles BMC school provides free education to children. In primary school, at least 230 children are studying in 1 grade to 5 grade with 5 teachers looking after them. The principal of primary school, Geeta Tiwar argues that the students lack basic literacy skills and require preparation before joining regular classes. However, this stance contradicts government guidelines requiring immediate admission of out-of-school children without requiring transfer certificates or entrance exams.
Geeta Tiwari said, "We have no problem enrolling them, but the child's previous school is not giving us a Leaving Certificate, which is necessary for enrollment. Secondly, children don't know how to read or write, we never deny admission, just ask parents to prepare them for the next term, and we help them enroll next year as per their age. A few parents understood it, but still, they are opposed. If now they come again, our authorities and we teachers are okay with giving them admission."
According to the Right to Education Act and government order, it is mandatory for municipal schools to admit out-of-school children. Conducting a written test for children during the admission process is not required. However, the school did it as they came in January when the major of the curriculum was completed. The teacher's intention was to understand how much they could grasp in a short time.
Meanwhile, Nitin Dalvi, Mumbai President of Maharashtra State Student Parents Association, criticized the incident, stating that it is a violation of the Right to Education Act as education is free in municipal schools. Dalvi, raised the question, "What should these students do when private schools expel them and government schools deny them admission?" Dalvi also complained to Raju Tadvi, Deputy Director of Education, Municipal Education Department, regarding the case of out-of-school children. However, no action is taken.