Ground Report | New Delhi: Only 8.7% students in minority; India’s apex child rights body in its report on minority education has said that students enrolled in unrecognized madrasas, Vedic schools, and gumps (Buddhist places of learning) should be treated as out-of-school children. The report also highlighted that majority of minority institutions are violating the guidelines.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), in its 116-page report prepared over the last five years, has also emphasized that minority institutions are not serving their purpose while enjoying the benefits under the law.
Only 8.7% students in minority
There are 18,000 minority schools in India, including over 18,000 madrasas. The NCPCR report said that more than 62.50 percent of students in minority schools were from non-minority communities. Madrasas have the lowest percentage of the non-minority population at 20.29 percent, while in Christian missionary schools 74 percent of students were from non-minority communities. The commission said that there are about 1.1 crore children in unrecognized madrassas.
While Article 21A of the Constitution provides the right to education to children in the age group of six to 14 years, Article 30 empowers minority communities to establish and administer educational institutions.
The Indian Express quoted NCPCR chairman Priyank as saying, “The aim of the study was to assess whether the 93rd Amendment, which exempts minority institutions from the mandatory provisions of the Right to Education, affected children from minority communities or No.”
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“We have seen minority institutions and especially madrasas. We have some startling findings, with 74 percent of students attending Christian missionary schools not from minority communities.
This is because 62.5% of students in most minority institutions come from non-minority communities. For example, 74.01% of Christian schools are non-Christian schools; In Sikh schools, a total of 75.50% of students are non-Sikhs.
These educational institutions are not covered under the Right to Education Act (RTE) due to a tussle between constitutional amendments. Article 21A in the constitution provides the right to education to children between 6-14 years of age, Article 30 empowers minorities to establish and administer educational institutions.
Minority schools are catering to less than 8%
According to the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, the state government may keep in view the population and educational needs of the area, determine the percentage of minority communities for admission to a minority educational institution in which the institution is located.
However, in the absence of clear guidelines from the states and despite the large presence of minority students in school-going age groups, minority schools are catering to less than 8% of the population of minority children, the report said.
“Therefore, there is a need to lay down specific guidelines regarding the minimum percentage of students from the minority community, who are to be admitted in the institute,” it says. It has also been suggested that minority cells should be activated in NCERTs and SCERTS to ensure the fundamental right to elementary education of minority communities.