NCPRT Report

TOPIC

NCPCR Report – Minority Institutions and RTE

 

CONTEXT
Recently, the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (NCPCR) conducted a Nationwide Assessment of Minority Schools. The report wastitled “Impact of Exemption under Article 15 (5) with regards to Article 21A of the Constitution of India on Education of Minority Communities”.
• The aim was to assess how the 93rd Amendment to Indian Constitution, which exempts minority institutions from otherwise mandatory provisions of the Right to Education, affected children belonging to minority communities.
• The report highlights the disproportionate number of minority institutions or dominance of non-minority category in Minority institutions.
What is National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
• NCPCR is a statutory body set up in March 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005.
• It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
• The Commission’s mandate is to ensure that all laws, policies, programmes, and administrative mechanisms are in consonance with the child rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child.
• It inquires into complaints relating to a child’s right to free and compulsory education under the Right to Education Act, 2009.
• It monitors the implementation of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
Objective of the STUDY: to assess the impact of exemption of minority educational institutions from implementing The Right to Education policy.

Key Findings of the Study:
• Many students in minority institutions or schools are not able to enjoy the entitlements that are provided to the children of non-minority institutions.
o For ensuring free and compulsory quality education to children, the RTE Act, 2009 provides for norms pertaining to basic minimum infrastructure, number of teachers, books, uniform, Mid-day Meal, etc.
Students in minority schools are not receiving these benefits.
• Christians comprise 11.54% of the minority population but run 71.96% of schools, whereas Muslims comprise 69.18% of the minority population but run 22.75% of schools,
• Around 74% of students studying at Christian missionary schools are nonminority students. Further, only 8.76% of total students in minority schools belong to socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
• Madrasas: According to the report, there are three kinds of madrasas in the country:
o Recognised Madrasas: These are registered and impart both religious
and secular education
o Unrecognised Madrasas: These have been found deficient for registration by state governments, as secular education is not imparted.
o Unmapped Madrasas: These have never applied for registration.
• The report has found the syllabus of these madrasas that have evolved over centuries are not uniform.
• Moreover, Sachar Committee report 2005, which says 4% of Muslim children (15.3 lakh) attend madrasas, has only taken into account the registered madrasas.
Recommendations of the Report:
• The government should bring all such schools, including madrasas, under the purview of the Right to Education and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan campaign.
• The report has also backed reservations for students from minority communities in minority schools.
suggestions
• The government should bring all such schools, including madrasas, under the purview of the Right to Education and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan campaign.
• The NCPCR also backed reservation for students from minority communities in such schools after its survey found a large proportion of non-minority students studying there.
o There is a need to lay down specific guidelines regarding the minimum percentage of students from the minority community to be admitted to the institution.
Understanding how Minority institutions and current issue related to Article 15(5), 30, 21A
• Minority Institutions: Minority institutions have the fundamental right under Article 30 of the Constitution to establish and administer their educational institutions according to their choice.
o However, they cannot ignore the regulations recommended by the state.
o Further, the Supreme Court in the TMA Pai Foundation case, 2002said that Article 30(1) was neither absolute nor above the law.
o Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jain and Zoroastrians (Parsis) have been notified as minority communities under Section 2
(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
• Article 15 (5) (93rd Amendment to Indian Constitution): It empowers the state to make special provisions for the socially and educationally backward classes or the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes ineducational
institutions including private educational institutions (whether aided or unaided by the state), except the minority educational institutions.
• Right to Education (RTE): In order to implement Right to Education under Article 21A. The Act mandates 25% reservation for disadvantaged sections of the society where disadvantaged groups include:
o SCs and STs
o Socially Backward Class
o Differently abled
• Using Article 30 to Bypassing RTE: Minority schools are outside the purview of the RTE Act. Further, in 2014, the Supreme Court in Pramati judgment made the whole RTE Act inapplicable to minority schools.
o The NCPCR survey highlighted that as many schools and institutions have registered as minority institutions, simply because they don’t have to implement RTE.
How are minority schools exempt from RTE and SSA?
• 86th amendment to the constitution of India in 2002: It provided the Right to Education as a fundamental right. The same amendment inserted Article 21A, which made the RTE a fundamental right for children aged between six and 14 years.
• Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA): It is a central government scheme implemented in partnership with the state governments. It aims to provide useful and relevant elementary education to all children between six and 14 years.
• Article 15(5): In 2006, the 93rd Constitution Amendment Act inserted Clause (5) in Article 15 which enabled the State to create special provisions such as reservations for the advancement of any backward classes of citizens like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, in all aided or unaided educational
institutes, except minority educational institutes.
• Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009: Section 12(1)(c) of the Act provided for 25% reservation of seats in unaided schools for admission of children from economically weaker sections and disadvantaged groups.
• However, Article 30 of the Constitution provides for the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, with a view to provide opportunities to children from different religious and linguistic minority communities to have and conserve a distinct culture, script, and language.
• Subsequently, in 2012, through an amendment, the institutions imparting religious education were exempted from following the RTE Act.
• Later on, in 2014, the Supreme Court in the
• Pramati judgment declared the RTE Act in applicable to schools with minority
status.

Conclusion
• There is a need to review the exemption made under RTE with respect to minority institutions.
o Article 30 of Indian constitution ensures the right of minorities to open their own institutions for cultural, linguistic and religious protection.
o However, it should not contravene with Article 21(A) which protects a child’s fundamental right to education.