Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Are you a criminal? Mumbai school asks parents


Mumbai: Do you have a PC at home? Are you the carrier of a life threatening disease? How big is your house? What car do you drive? Do you have your tax returns in place? And most importantly, do you have a criminal record? Before you dismiss these questions with a curt 'none of your business', know that answers to these snoopy, unrelated queries, or their variants, will determine if your child gets admission in a school.
And pushing the odd into the outlandish is Maneckji Cooper High School in Juhu, which just upped the ante. It is asking parents of prospective students to get a character certificate from Mumbai police, presumably so everybody can rest assured that children of hardened criminals are not running amok in the school.
The requirements put forth by schools, generally, for admissions have obviously struck as unnecessary and extraordinary, other than being plain weird, to parents.
mumbai school
Jayant Jain, president of the All India Federation of Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), said, "Many schools in the city have come up with such requests.
A school in south Mumbai recently asked a parent if they have a personal computer at home; another school in western suburbs had inquired of the size of the parents' flat, and even the type of vehicle they own, before allowing admission to their kid in kindergarten."
Jain continued, "Some schools have asked for even Income Tax returns, and a medical certificate of the parents and the child to ensure that they are not suffering from any life threatening diseases."
"We learn about such bizarre requests when distressed parents complain to us. Unfortunately, parents fear that writing to the education department against a school may mar the chances of their child's admission," said Jain.
Why the weirdness
Jain said that no government department or minister directly regulates kindergarten schools, they exploit the liberty, and in the process, harass the parents.
"The Right to Education act has clearly mentioned that no child can be screened while admission. Then screening parents seems far-fetched.
A child's admission cannot be decided on their parents' background. We get such complaints from parents several times, but they fear to approach department to lose admission in any other school," said Jain.
Maneckji's admission form states, "Parents should obtain a certificate from the Mumbai police confirming that there has never been and currently no criminal investigation, proceeding, conviction against the parents and a guardians, whose child is applying for admission."
The admission process in Maneckji Cooper School started last month. And parents were called for interviews. Said a parent applying there, "This is unfair. What if there are false allegations against a parent, should an innocent child suffer? Besides, it almost takes a month to get a certificate."
Officials speak
Pandurang Patil, deputy education officer, BMC, and head of city private schools, said, "It is totally unfair that the school is asking character certificate from the parents.
Since there is not any department that controls them they are doing anything they wish. But if complained to government of such practices they can take action on them.
Today itself, the government asked me for data on the number of legal pre-primary schools in the city. I am sure they are coming up with some solution."
Who's got the time?
Since Maneckji listed the new criterion, the Special Branch of the city police has been busier than usual.
According to police officials, everyday around 20 parents come asking for the character certificate, piling on to the heap of paper work the officials have to deal with daily.
Madhukar Gavit, additional commissioner of police, Special Branch, said, "This is the first time that parents have approached us for a character certificate for the admission of their child. Since it is our job, we have to provide them with one."
Maneckji asked for several other documents from parents for admission, like birth certificate, pan card, ration, recommendations from at least two known people, and so on.
The other side
An official from Maneckji Cooper High School said, "The character certificate is just for a routine check and nothing else. It is not mandatory. Parents can also submit it after getting the admission as it takes time to get the certificate."
Not just Mumbai
MiD Day had earlier reported ('Will you go veg for your child's admission', January 5) that Mahavir Model School in north Delhi has made it a criterion for parents to be austerely vegetarian and also keep away from cigarettes and alcohol. The same report mentioned another school in Mumbai Central had asked for a qualification certificate from parents for their child's admission in lower KG.


anthonydavis said...

Another school in western suburbs had inquired of the size of the parents' flat, and even the type of vehicle they own, before allowing admission to their kid in kindergarten.

Kindergarten Schools Mumbai

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