The Delhi High Court on Tuesday warned that private schools across the country could soon become “teaching shops”, completely commercialising education if nursery classes were not brought under Right to Education Act. Directing the Centre to consider an amendment to the RTE Act, a bench comprising chief justice D Murugesan and justice VK Jain said: “Importance of education is applicable to every child right from admission to nursery classes till it passes eighth standard. There is an obligation on the state to provide free and compulsory education to children. Educational institutions cannot be allowed to run as teaching shops. There should be equal opportunity for each child.”
The court observation came on a plea by Ashok Aggarwal of NGO social jurist, which challenged the nursery admission norms, saying that under the garb of the points system, many schools were accepting heavy donations by providing seats in the management quota.
“Though we have held that Right to Education Act is not applicable to nursery schools, in our opinion there cannot be any different yardstick to be adopted for education to children up to the age of 14 years. The state should consider a necessary amendment to the RTE Act so that children seeking admission to nursery schools should also be able avail its benefits,” the court said.
The HC said section 13 of the Act, which prohibited screening procedure at the school entry level (class one), will become meaningless if it is allowed during admission to nursery classes.
During the hearing, the court had said that government had no authority give unbridled powers to schools to frame their own admission criterion. “Only draw of lots that is a random selection which excludes any kind of classification is to be followed and other such as sibling, first child, alumni, parents, profession, etc, are against the RTE Act which prohibited any kind of discrimination,” the court had said.