Govt allays fears of minority institutions on RTE Act

New Delhi: Amid apprehension by several Muslim organisations that provisions of the Right to Education Act impinge on minority rights, Government today made it clear that constitutional guarantees available to minority institutions will not be violated.

"The Ministry will send out an advisory to all states and union territories to ensure that constitutional guarantees under Article 29 and 30 available to minority institutes are not violated," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said.

But "we will also urge all minority institutions to ensure that the spirit of the RTE Act to provide good quality education is not violated," he told reporters.

Sibal said the Ministry has already introduced an amendment Bill in the Parliament to clarify the role of school management committees for aided minority institutions.

"The committee will only play an advisory role in the minority institutes," he said after holding consultations with various stakeholders on implementations of the provisions of the Act.

He said the government has no intention of interfering in the madrassas' right and process of imparting religious education.

He said that there was a broad consensus on several other issues which included that children should not be tested in anyway at the time of admission.

However, a suggestion was made that a rational system of "categorisation on non-discriminatory principles" as well as affirmative action for children from marginalised sections should be evolved within which a school may form a random selection process, he said.

Sibal said there were also deliberations on the issue of producing residential certificates with respect to street children.

"There was some suggestion that parent declaration would suffice. However, we have not taken a decision on this as yet. But we would like to evolve a rational system for this. Institutions could have some autonomy on this," he said.

Referring to residential schools, he said they would hold separate deliberations on such schools.

Talking about the need to seek recognition by schools afresh under the RTE Act, he said this was to ensure the schools are following the yardsticks laid under the Act.

"We felt that recognised schools could give some kind of affidavit. We will develop a procedure under which the schools would have to follow a system which is aligned to the RTE Act," he said.