No Admission If No Aadhaar: Students Denied Admission In Delhi Govt Schools
Humana People to People in India (HPPI), an NGO has alleged that some government schools have denied admission to children from economically backward families for not having Aadhaar card. Mithlesh Kumar, the NGO member and coordinator of Kadam Set-Up programme, which works for the upliftment of the underprivileged through educational, health and other initiatives, said, “Most of these children come from families where the parents do not even know their child’s birth date”, as reported by New Indian Express. However, the Directorate of Education (DoE) guidelines, issued on March 3, 2018, states that Aadhaar card of parents/child is not required for entry-level admission.
This is not the first case of students being denied admission in Delhi for not having Aadhaar card. In April 2018, Indian Express reported that one of the schools in Rohini Sector 17 had put up a notice stating that the Aadhaar card of the child and parent was mandatory for admission. Moreover, some of the parents had to apply for their kids’ Aadhar card and provide the enrollment number to gain admission, although it was clearly against the rules put forth by DoE.
What do Parents say?
Ashok Agarwal, president, All India Parents Association told First Post, “We have been receiving complaints that many government schools are denying admission to students on the grounds of not being able to submit sufficient documents. This act is a violation of the Right To Education Act, which mandates that admission to schools cannot be rejected on any grounds.” As per Section 13(1) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE), while the admissions process is on, no school or person shall subject the child or his/her parents to any screening procedure.
‘School FIR Camp’
The NGO launched a statewide campaign named as, ‘School FIR Camp’, to gather information about students being denied admission. For the campaign, the NGO has appealed to lawyers, teachers and law students to work as volunteers and distribute handbills appealing to inform them of their grievances. They also held temporary camps in more than 100 localities. They said that the number of students denied education might run into thousands.
What Do Schools Say?
To these allegations, the vice-principal of Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Shastri Park, stated that Aadhaar and bank account had been made mandatory for admissions by the school department. “We independently cannot help these children who are without Aadhaar”, she said.
However, when asked for comments from principal Meena Sharma, she denied that the school is not granting admission to children without Aadhaar. She said, “We are taking an undertaking from parents that they will submit the card in a month, and mention the Aadhaar enrollment number.”
Shashi Kant Singh, principal of a co-ed school in Delhi, spoke in support for said the system of mandatory Aadhaar card. He said, “The Aadhaar card is mandatory because many students receive money under government schemes in their bank accounts.” He further added, “If a student does not have his Aadhaar-linked bank account, how can one ensure that he does not have his name enrolled in another school and is drawing the same benefits?”. Shashi Kant Singh also said that the students receive money from the government through several schemes, including a scholarship for minorities and this was the only way to make sure that students and parents are not cheating the system.