July 20, 2010

School admission only through draw of lots

HYDERABAD: From the next academic year, it's luck and not merit that would get your child admission in reputed private schools in the state. The state government has decided that a draw of lots will replace screening tests in private schools as Right to Education Act (RTA) banishes these admission tests. According to officials from the department of secondary education, the schools which do not admit students on the basis of a draw of lots, will be fined Rs 25,000 in the first instance and Rs 50,000 in the second. "The draw of lots will have to be done before the district magistrate. No school will be allowed to conduct admissions without using the random sampling or lottery system," said Dr D Sambashiva Rao, principal secretary, secondary education, adding that the system is already in place in other states.

According to the new rules, admitting students without lottery system would be punishable under 13 (2b) of the RTE act. While the state government said that the system would give all students equal opportunity to take admission in schools, the management representatives of schools said that the decision infringes on the schools' authority to choose their students. They added that it would also deny seats to students who are genuinely interested in taking admission. "If admissions are done by a draw of lots, many conventions, like giving admission to siblings in the same school, would have to change. Parents will be more worried than ever during admission time if the rule is implemented," a management representative said. The management representatives are planning to ask the state government to devise some other method to conduct admissions in the coming academic year.

Meanwhile, parents from the city said that merit should be the criteria for admission into private schools. "There are parents who might want their children to study in specific schools. If admissions are done through a draw of lots they might be denied this opportunity. Besides parents are also worried that they will have to get their children admitted in neighbourhood schools as per the Act," a parent said.

Until recently, for admission into primary classes, students were being screened by oral examination and in upper primary and high school classes admissions were being done through written tests. Parents, however, said that admissions to the 25 per cent reserved seats under RTE Act should be done through the lottery method.

Meanwhile, trying to put the parents' doubts to rest, officials from secondary education department said the system is meant to put an end to donation and capitation fee in the state.

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