‘Government’s definition of minority school unacceptable’

Defining a minority school as one with more than 75 per cent of its students belonging to the minority community (or language) is unacceptable.

July 12, 2012 01:11 pm | Updated 01:11 pm IST - MANGALORE

Principals and headmasters of minority schools in Dakshina Kannada are gearing up to counter the Government’s decision on the definition of minority schools.

Several of them told The Hindu that their managements would go to court. Defining a minority school as one with more than 75 per cent of its students belonging to the minority community (or language) is unacceptable. It was not possible to have that high a percentage of minority community students, they said.

Edward Rodrigues, Headmaster, St. Aloysius School, told The Hindu : “We will not keep quiet about it...we will go to court. It (the definition) is unilateral.” Mangalore alone has so many minority schools; it is not possible that they should all have 75 per cent students from the minority community. “Ours is a minority community…so do we have to close down our school? Our school is for others too, irrespective of caste and creed,” he said. It is true that St. Aloysius is a minority school but the memorandum of association of the management says that it is primarily for Catholics and Christians but is also open to other communities as we are in a secular country, he said.

Mr. Rodrigues said that the school, along with others, would contest the decision, which affects schools of all minorities, including those run by linguistic minorities. In Bangalore, minority schools were getting ready to take the matter to court. “Minority schools are not sleeping over this,” he said.

Gurudath Bhagwath, Manager, Canara Association, said that the association, along with three other Konkani-run schools from Bantwal and Gangolli, have filed a case last month in the Karnataka High Court. “It (the case) has been admitted but so far not taken,” he said. Mr. Bhagwath said that if the Government implements the decision, the minority status would go as it would not be possible to get that many students from the linguistic minority. He said there were six to seven Konkani managements in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi including the one in Mangalore (Canara High School Association, which runs 11 institutions including three high schools, three higher primary schools, two nursery schools, and one “balwadi”).

C.K. Manjunath, Principal, The Yenepoya School, said: “First, 75 per cent of minority students may not be available in many schools. Two, in such cases, what will the government do?” It was better to go by the earlier definition, that minority institutions were those that have 50 per cent of students from the minority community.


Mr. Rodrigues said (of the definition), “This is injustice, jugglery of words,” while Mr. Manjunath said, “It (the government decision) looks very illogical, some thinking is required over it; it has been taken all of a sudden.”

Renni D’Souza, Dakshina Kannada Co-ordinator, Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), said: “I think what the Yenepoya principal is saying (about the earlier definition of minority institution) is correct.” He said that most minority schools in Mangalore might not have 50 per cent minority students and one would have to wait and see what the courts say.

N. Shivaprakash, Deputy Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, told The Hindu : “After the Government Oorder comes, verification will be done.” The district has 223 minority schools including linguistic minority-run schools, he said.

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