Flooded with complaints about denial of admission to disadvantaged children under the economically weaker section (EWS) category, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the education departments across to country to evolve a code of conduct to be followed stringently by the private schools and managements to ensure transparency in such admissions. The admission process should be clearly specified in the brochure, school website and notice boards. Denial of admission under the EWS category can attract punitive action, including de-recognition of the school.

The admissions are mandated under the Right of the Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. The apex court had upheld the provision of reserving 25 per cent seats in a school for children belonging to poor and disadvantaged sections of society.

“As the RTE Act is being rolled out, it has come to the notice of the Commission that schools are not admitting children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in the neighbourhood for various reasons including lack to clear directives from State government,” child rights panel chairperson Shantha Sinha has said in a directive to the State governments.

“The implementation of code of conduct by the schools will strengthen transparency and accountability in the efficacious enforcement of RTE Act, 2009 in letter and in spirit, enable the civil society groups to be heard, register complaints and bring issues from the ground to the ears of the government. It will further ensure that the government authorities get direct information and feedback from the people on the status of the working of the RTE,” Ms. Sinha said.

Awareness programmes

The NCPCR wants the States to organise awareness programmes for dissemination of information on the code of conduct involving media, civil society, school management committees and all stakeholders.

Ms. Sinha has said the State Education departments need to initiate meetings with managements and principals of private schools for effective implementation of the 25 per cent quota for the EWS category and disadvantaged groups.

“Any denial or violation of rights of children under the RTE Act by the school will attract strict punitive measures, including revocation of Certificate of Recognition of the school,” she said.