HYDERABAD: The utter disregard being shown by schools towards the lottery system for admissions has drawn sharp reactions from child rights activists and non-governmental organisations. However, the latter believe the onus is on parents to challenge the schools.
“The entire process of selecting students for admissions is against the law and government orders have been issued in this regard. Every child has the right to education at a good school irrespective of the family background and the annual income of parents,” points out Sunita Burra, state head for Pratham, an NGO which works in the rural education sector.
“The parents need to form a collective to take up the issue with the district education officer or collector. Legal recourse can also be sought from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights for redressal,” says Sunita.
The schools often evaluate the parents’ annual income and some even select pupils on the basis of ‘merit’ as determined through interviews and written examinations for children as young as 3, in clear violation of the Right to Education.
“It is the right of a child to be able to access the best education possible, irrespective of whether the parents are capable of paying the fees or if the child matches the levels of intellect the school expects of its students. The entire system of cherry picking students is faulty,” observes Kadambini, who works for the NGO Bhumi.
What is the possible alternative? There is little consensus on it as different people have different views. “The lottery or random system is fine as it ensures a clear procedure and selection free of bias,” says Sunita while Kadambini doubts whether the process of lottery can be used effectively to filter through the large number of applications received by the schools which are much sought-after.