SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued a notice to the government of India and J&K administration besides Private School Association regarding a Public Interest Litigation, seeking directions to the officials to evolve “fair and just” policy of admissions in the private schools.
The notice issued by a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sindhu Sharma was accepted by Tahir Majid Shamsi, ASGI, on behalf of Union of India, through Principal Secretary to Prime Minister and Nissar Hussain Shah, senior Additional Advocate General, on behalf of Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary Education Department and Director School Education, J&K, Srinagar.
The notice to others including all private schools of Valley through Private School Association Near Hotel Broad View Neelam Chowk Srinagar has been issued subjected the petitioner—Kaiser Ahmad Bhat of Buchpora Srinagar—taking steps to effect it.
The petitioner seeks direction to the concerned to revamp the policy of admission at Nursery and Pre-school stage. “The policy of admission at Nursery stage in other parts of the country, and globally as well, is dictated by the rule that the children should be 6 years of age by the time they reach standard 1st. However no such definite policy is observed in the private schools in the J&K,” the petitioner says, as per news agency GNS. “ Invariably in one state the children in standard 1st are only 5 years of age. This is contrary to what is prescribed by the expert in the field of children education.”
He says there is a unanimous view that the children who are of lesser age are not physically and psychologically equipped to cope with the learning process which is basically imposed on them by schools and parents at a premature stage.
“Such children grow up with stunted cognitive and logical abilities. What is needed is that prep-schools and pre-schooling learning should be arranged and structured in such manner that children should be not less than six years of age when they are enrolled in the standard 1st,” he said, asserting that this would obviate the negative consequences of children not coping with strenuous learning process which otherwise going forward takes toll on their physical and mental development.
“In the guise of conducting interaction the schools throne to winds all norms of equity and fair play in the process of school admission,” he says, adding, “It is quite baffling to think what is being evaluated in the children who are just 3+ years of age by the school authorities in the name of conducting interviews Child psychologists would writhe in pain and horror to know what devastating consequences the children will have to face after being told that they are not worthy enough to be admitted in the particular school.”
The petitioner has also pointed out that the practice of seeking information relating to the financial strength of the parents of the children for admission is not only morally and ethically reprehensible itself but also “appears to be the only determining criteria for the admission of the children in the school.” “Apart from having to know whether the child falls in the ABL or BPL category there in no other reason for the schools to seek from the parents to divulge their yearly income.”
Besides seeking directions to the official to evolve policy of admissions in Private Schools, which is fair and just for every economic and social stratum of the society, the petitioner also prays for prohibiting the schools from carrying on the admission on the existing policy.