NEW DELHI: Nearly 13,000 schools in India, run by Christian organisations, may be saving over Rs 2,500 crore every year by not offering admission to students from the economically weaker section (EWS), as mandated by the Right to Education Act, the country’s apex child rights body has estimated.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is using the estimate to build its case for bringing minority institutions under the ambit of the Act, which makes it mandatory for all unaided schools to admit EWS students at the primary level.
A report prepared by the NCPCR and accessed by this newspaper says that as per the Household Social Consumption on Education in India for 2017-18, the average expenditure per student for pursuing general courses in private unaided institutions was Rs 18,267.
Considering that the number of children in about 12,904 Christian minority schools spread across India as per its study on minority education is 54,86,884, it means that these schools earn Rs 10,022.89 crore from the students.
Since these schools are exempt from providing admission to children from the disadvantaged or weaker sections, they are saving on expenditure equivalent to 25% of total children, which comes to Rs 2,505.72 crore, the report has concluded.
“We feel it is urgently required to amend the laws and open these schools for EWS students as while being projected as minority schools, they are mainly catering to elite class students of non-Christian categories,” said NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo.
The report said Christian schools have 74.01% of the student population belonging to the non-Christian community and in several states this figure is as high as 80%.
Cater to just eight percent of minority population
Overall, minority schools cater to less than 8% of the minority population. But in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Meghalaya, such schools cater to more than 30% of the minority population.