NCPCR flags flaws in minority schools, urges Centre to bring them under RTE

An NCPCR survey found that in almost 18,000 minority schools across India, over 62.50 per cent of pupils hailed from non-minority communities

School
Representative photo

The National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has recommended the Centre to bring all minority schools including Vedic schools, Christian missionary schools and madrasas under the ambit of the Right to Education and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan mission.

The NCPCR made the recommendation based on its survey of minority schools, a report on which was released and submitted to the government on Tuesday.

The chief aim of the apex educational body was to ensure that children from the minority communities avail the right to elementary education within minority institutions.

Titled ‘Impact of Exemption under Article 15 (5) with regards to Article 21A of the Constitution of India on Education of Minority Communities’, the 116-page report, drafted over five years, said there should be reservation for minority students in such schools as the survey found several non-minority students enrolled in minority schools.

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India has as many as 18,000 minority schools, including over 12,000 madrasas. The NCPCR report said that over 62.50 per cent of pupils in minority schools hailed from non-minority communities. The madrasas have the lowest percentage of non-minority population at 20.29 per cent while 74 per cent of students in Christian missionary schools were from non-minority communities.

The commission said that there are around 1.1 crore children in unrecognised madrasas.

While Article 21A of the Constitution provides the right to education to children between the age of six and 14 years, Article 30 gives minority communities the right to establish and administer educational institutions.

“The aim of the study was to assess how the 93rd Amendment, which exempts minority institutions from the otherwise mandatory provisions of Right to Education, has affected children belonging to minority communities and whether there has been a gap,” Indian Express quoted NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo as saying.

“We have looked at minority institutions per se and madrasas in particular. We have some startling findings, including that 74 per cent of students studying in Christian missionary schools do not belong to the minority community,” he added.

The report also said that a majority of these institutions have violated government guidelines.

“Many schools, we know, have registered as minority institutions, simply because they don’t have to implement RTE. But can Article 30, which ensures the right of minorities to open their own institutions for cultural linguistic and religious protection, contravene what is in Article 21(A) which protects a child’s fundamental right to education. Surely Article 21 (A) must prevail,’’ Kanoongo said.

The committee has also suggested the government to map all unrecognized institutions to identify out-of-school children and chalk out specific guidelines on the number of minority students in the state.

According to the report Christians who comprise only 11.54 per cent of India’s minorities, run 71.96 per cent schools while Muslims who are 69.18 per cent of the population run 22.75 per cent of schools. Similarly, Sikhs (9.78 per cent) run 1.54 per cent of schools, while Buddhists (3.83 per cent) run 0.48 per cent of schools. Jains who for 1.9 per cent of the minority population, run 1.56 per cent of schools.

 

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