At least 30 Hindu-run schools in Karnataka will now be made to bear the brunt of the sectarian Right to Education (RTE) Act introduced by the UPA government. These schools, who had claimed linguistic minority status, have been ordered by the Karnataka High Court to reserve 35 per cent seats for students from economically weaker sections.
Under RTE, 25 per cent seats in the school need to be reserved for students from economically weaker sections. This provision, surprisingly, is not applicable on Muslim and Christian run minority institutions. The schools in question here claimed linguistic minority status in an attempt to escape from the brunt of this sectarian law. But now the courts have ordered these schools to reserve 35 per cent seats instead of the 25 per cent reservation prescribed by the RTE Act to make up for the 75 per cent backlog that has accumulated over the past three years.
The schools claim that they belong to linguistic minority communities. As per Article 30 of the Indian Constitution, all minority institutions and are outside the purview of the RTE Act. These schools have now been directed to approach the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), a body that cannot have a Hindu as its member. Ironically, all these schools that have been told to approach NCMEI are Hindu-run schools.
RTE Act has not only been criticised for its sectarian nature, but also for the negative effect that the act has had on performance of students in Primary Schools. The NITI Aayog recently criticised the act for having detrimental effect on learning outcomes and said that the government should review the act.
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