Education minister and director of school education say they cannot interfere
Srinagar: The Tyndale Biscoe and Mallinson schools in Srinagar are asking for income certificates from parents who are seeking admission of their children in these reputable schools.
Though the practice has been prevalent in the past, some parents complained that it amounts to economic and social profiling for the purpose of admissions, “which runs contrary to the claims of the missionary society running the schools”.
A notice on the official website of Tyndale Biscoe school gives details of the host of documents required for registration of wards for admissions. It asks for submission of income certificates of both parents, issued by a competent authority.
“For business class, only chartered accountant’s certificate will be accepted,” says the notice.
A post shared by Facebook page ‘Citizens of Kashmir’ on September 6 criticised the practice, calling it economic and social profiling of parents. “What right does the school have to demand income certificates of parents? Look at the audacity: for business class only chartered accountant’s certificate will be accepted. What the hell,” the post read.
It added, “Is the school which brags of ‘serving the society’ brazenly doing economic and social profiling to choose which students to admit? We as a society are responsible for making the schools unaccountable.”
The post also questioned the practice of some schools, including Biscoe and Mallinson, of seeking mandatory presence of both parents at the time of admission interview.
The post said that by demanding presence of both parents, the school was discriminating against children of “single/estranged parents”.
No top official from the school managements was available for comment, despite several efforts from this correspondent.
An official working in the admission block of Tyndale Biscoe, who said he was not authorised to speak to media, confirmed that the school had sought income certificates of both parents, “because the school provides hundred percent scholarships to various students who cannot afford to pay the tuition fee.”
GN Var, president of the Kashmir Private School Association, told Kashmir Reader that seeking income certificates is constitutionally illegal and contrary to the purpose of running a school. “School is not a business; it is a no-profit work meant to share the burden of the state. In no way the income of a parent can be related to the admission of his child,” he said. “A person has every right to seek admission for his child in a school of his choice.”
Var said the “excuse” of providing scholarships does not give schools the right to demand income certificates, because scholarships were a right, not a charity, as ruled by the Supreme Court of India and High Courts of various states.
“A school on leased land is under obligation to provide 25% free seats to deserving and destitute students. In no way income certificates can become the basis for denying admission to students,” Var said. “The excuse of demanding income certificates from parents is clearly meant to restrict admission to the elite class.”
Director of School Education Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Itoo, told Kashmir Reader that the department has no authority over the admission process of private schools. “It is up to the school authorities what documents they require for admissions,” Itoo said. “We have held a meeting some days ago and we are planning to include admission processes under the jurisdiction of the department.”
Education Minister Altaf Bukhari also said that the government cannot interfere in the admission procedure as it is the school’s internal matter.