Q. Are all private schools expected to provide 25% of classroom seats at the entry level for free admission?
Section 12 of the Act, 2009 is applicable to 4 different categories of schools with varying levels of responsibility:
i) a school established, owned or controlled by the appropriate Government or a local authority; shall provide free and compulsory education to all children admitted therein;
ii) an aided school receiving aid or grants to meet whole or parts of its expenses from the appropriate Government or the local authority; shall provide free and compulsory education to a minimum of twenty-five percent;
iii) a school belonging to a specified category; and
iv) an unaided school not receiving any kind of aid or grants to meet its expenses from the appropriate Government or the local authority; shall admit in class 1 to the extent of at least twenty-five per cent of the strength of that class, children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood and provide free and compulsory education till its completion.
So, all government schools should provide free admission to all children.
And all UNAIDED AND AIDED private schools and those in SPECIFIED CATEGORY (such as the Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodyayas, Sainik Schools) must provide free education to at least 25 percent of students at the entry level.
Based on the Supreme Court judgement of April 2012 only unaided minority institutions are exempt from this provision of the law.
Q. Are minority institutions expected to provide 25% of seats for free admission ?
No. The Supreme Court in its judgement on 12th April 2012 upheld the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, but emphasized that the provision for 25% reservation would NOT APPLY to unaided minority schools.
The majority judgment stated:
“Reservation of 25 per cent in such unaided minority schools will result in changing the character of the schools if the right to establish and administer such schools flows from the right to conserve the language, script or culture, which right is conferred on such unaided minority schools. Thus, the 2009 Act including Section 12(1) (c) violates the right conferred on such unaided minority schools under Article 30(1).”
So, linguistic and religious minority educational institutions are EXEMPT from this provision of the Act.
Q. Are residential and boarding schools also expected to reserve 25 percent seats?
Based on the Supreme Court directive, the Central Government guideline on 13th July 2012 notes that the 25 percent reservation requirement does not apply to boarding or residential schools, which admit students only after Class1.
In boarding or residential schools, which have class 1, the 25 percent reservation only applies to day scholars.
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