A prominent school, on a complaint against its conduct of selection and admission process, at LKG level, after persuasion, in its reply, made startling revelation about same. The communication dated 18.05.2021 of the Principal; (name of the school withheld) is fortunately more revealing than concealing. The aforesaid communication throws up startling facts about process of selection and admission of students at LKG level, and is summarized as under:
(i) Child has to be between 3-4 years of age and his ability to see, hear and recognize is to be ascertained;
(ii) Is she/he able to hold pencil, or can scribble few alphabets and numbers has to be checked;
(iii) Interaction with parents to check their attitude towards institution, teaching learning process and good parenting.
(iv) Besides, evaluation of aforesaid parameters, selection of general category candidates is being made by considering the following factors;
(a) The score of interaction on day-wise basis.
(b) Priority to siblings, alumni.
(c) Authenticity of documents submitted by parents.
(d) Priority to children of staff members.
(e) Management quota
(f) Recommendations from Civil authority, Education Department, Police etc.
In our constitutional scheme and legal framework, imparting education by setting up educational institutions is primarily State function. In order to universalize literacy and education, the State permits private persons, trusts, societies, a group of individuals to perform the same function by setting up educational institutions. The public function which the State is obliged to perform, is thus being performed by aforesaid legal entities, as well. Besides, in some other aspects relating to management and functioning of a Private un-aided school, the school management also enjoys some degree of autonomy in the matter of admission of students, fee structure etc. In our constitutional philosophy and societal values the school managements cannot and should not function as autocratic kings, being law unto them. To achieve the goals of fairness, equity and justice, the management of private un-aided schools have to follow, in the discharge of their functions, the values and norms which are nearer and akin to those followed by public functionaries, and which reflect the constitutional values. The conduct of human beings primarily is being regulated by divine scripture. In this country the conduct of a vast sea of human beings is also being regulated by constitution, laws, subordinate legislations, rules, orders etc. Human beings in a civilized Society cannot be allowed to run amuck and in pursuit of the insatiable greed ride rough shod to destroy the rights of fellow human beings. It is said that no virtue is neither absolute, nor even freedom. A person cannot have liberty and freedom to trample the rights of other people on the strength of sheer political power, money power or muscle power. Such a situation may not be visualized even about “Jungle Raj”. While in mother’s womb, a person remains tied to umbilical cord, and on his birth remains tied to prescribed norms in his sojourn on planet earth. So absolute authority and power cannot be assumed by or vested in any person. Our children are a National Asset. Developing their mental faculties, honing their skills and making them literate to assimilate knowledge is a duty cast on one and all. Besides parents, the Educational Institutions have primary and fundamental duty to cut out human diamonds from raw stones. Educational Institutions in all times have procreated ideas, nourished imagination and weaved them into human fabric. Each and every child irrespective of his place of birth, his parents position in society, on his being passed on our plant, is endowed with extraordinary capabilities.
The child needs a favourable atmosphere to explore the gifts of nature devolved upon him. The educational institutions, parents, nourish and develop the hidden capacities and capabilities of a child. A good teacher, and not so good teacher, makes a huge impact on the overall development of a child. A highly skilled sculptor carves out magical and mesmerizing images from a stone, whereas an ordinary sculptor does not produce image of same level. Child and a parent should not be fascinated by colours of rainbow which turn to be an illusion created by air borne raindrops and rays of sun. The school(s) is admitting children by literally conducting a screening test. It does not stand to reason as to how and in which manner a child holding a pencil or scribbling few letters can be differentiated with other child not “armed with such feat”. What has a child to do with recognizing a person. Every child of that age has inherent power to recognize his parents, and or those with whom he has a daily interaction. It may reflect symbolic form of faith. What is important for over all development of a child is a committed, capable and honest teacher. A school with latest infrastructural and technological facilities may also be a factor in shaping the future of a child. What further shocks one deep down to his conscience is that admissions are being made at the recommendation of public functionaries.Social changes and cultural mutations cannot be allowed to be manipulated. Accidents of time, impact of events do play a role in shaping human destiny. To be fair and honest in the dealing the best way is to make admissions by draw of lots. This process when adopted and followed faithfully and honestly will enable even children of lesser mortals also to have opportunity to study in a premier Educational institution. See 13(d), of the “Right of Children to free and compulsory education Act 2009” besides barring collection of any capitation fee, also provides that no school or person should, while admitting a child, subject child or his or her parents or guardian to any screening procedure. The schools are duty bound to obey the statutory prescriptions, as breach thereof will entail penal consequences. Corrections are to be made at the beginning; otherwise the course of system will get polluted up to top. Human actions at times make life wickedly cruel. The hopes of human beings are perpetually created and must be supported by moral values and wisdom, otherwise, aspirations will be continuously mocked. The people who disobey the acknowledged moral values, settled norms, are ultimately crowned upon with disgraces and disappointments. A person who is just, reasonable and fair in his intent and action “stands at the summit of his creators achievement.”
(The author a Former Judge of Jammu & Kashmir High Court is presently Chairperson Committee for Fee Fixation and Regulation of Private Schools of J&K. Views are his own)