Srinagar: In a first-of-its-kind exercise, the divisional administration of Kashmir has constituted a committee to scrutinise and oversee the admission process in private schools.
This move comes amid complaints against some private schools committing alleged irregularities in the admission process.
As per the order issued by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang Kundbarao Pole, the committee would scrutinise the admission process and the selection of the candidates under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota as per the lease agreement executed between the government and the school authorities.
The committee comprises Joint Director School Education Kashmir, Assistant Commissioner (Central), with Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Assistant Commissioner, Nazool Srinagar, and the concerned Chief Education Officer (CEO).
“The committee will oversee the process of admission through the draw of lots if the number of forms received is more than the allocated quota,” the order reads.
Over the years, most private schools would deny admission to the students from EWS, depriving them of getting an education from these institutions.
The poor students were denied admission by the schools despite having their institutions established on the government land provided to them on lease.
However, the fresh order of the divisional administration has raised expectations of the poor parents of the students from EWS to get admission to these top-notch schools in Kashmir.
“We hope the order will be implemented in letter and spirit and the admission process properly scrutinised by the committee and justice done with poor students aspiring to get education from elite private schools,” said Firdous Ahmad, a parent from Srinagar.
Many parents said that the government should issue a detailed order about the commencement of the admission process in schools considering the decision of shifting the academic session to March.
“If the order is issued, it will remove all the ambiguity,” a parent said.
Notably, some elite schools in Srinagar and other districts have been provided hundreds of kanals of government land on lease against which the schools pay a very nominal price as rent to the government.
“As the schools pay a nominal rate to the government as rent, they are supposed to keep around 20 percent of admission reserved for poor students,” an official said.
He said that the schools do not adhere to the lease agreement by not offering admission to students in kindergarten classes.
“But the government has taken a serious note of it and this year, the entire admission process will be scrutinised properly by it,” the official said.
Even though some schools have started admissions, the panel would revisit the admissions to make these institutions fall in line with the EWS norms.
“Even if some schools have already started the admission process or have completed it, as of now, they will have to revisit it and start it afresh as per the government guidelines,” the official said.
It has come to the fore that some schools in Srinagar have already started the admission process and collected the admission (capitation) fee from parents in violation of the government orders issued from time to time.
For the last two years, the government has imposed a blanket ban on demanding or collecting capitation fees by the schools from parents for providing admission to their kids.
“This year the entire admission process in schools will be done transparently as the committee will oversee it so that injustice is not done to poor students,” the official said.