Bangalore Bethany High school’s circular raises controversy

Bangalore school’s circular raises controversy

TNN, Jul 30, 2010, 05.14am IST

BANGALORE: Trigerring a fresh controversy over some provisions of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, a Bangalore school’s circular to parents virtually warns them of what could be in store once the act comes into force.

Bethany High School, in a circular dated July 26, a copy of which is with TOI, said: “Under this Act, all private unaided schools will have to accommodate 25% of their strength of children around the neighbourhood without any screening. This means that any child will have to be allowed into school and share the classroom with your child. Eminent psychologists have said that this will be detrimental to the psyche of all children, yours and the others, and the school has to sit back and admit indiscriminately and cannot refuse admission.”

It goes on: “Not only can the school not reject anybody, the school cannot even expel them or give them a TC even if they cause disciplinary problems in the school. Once this act is enforced, another child could beat up your child, smoke on the campus, misbehave with a girl or a teacher, and the school will have to watch helplessly.”

School principal Akash Ryall’s defence was: “I have said all this in the circular. But it was not meant for only 25% of the children, but to all.” He added: “I’m the principal of a private school and have every right to send a circular to the parents. I have to inform them about what will happen one year from now when RTE comes into force. I’m not against the 25% quota. At Bethany, we’re giving free education and supporting 20 families. How can we be called an elitist school? I am not discriminating. I was only questioning as to how we will discipline children and this includes every child, not just the 25 % who will come in.”

Ryall went on: “Once the RTE comes into effect, we cannot fail or expel any child irrespective of whatever they do. The school will have to just sit back and watch. I was only quoting from the rules of RTE. I never used the word ‘criminal’. In fact, we welcome the 25% quota. Bethany has children of autorickshaw drivers and gardeners.” Headmaster Robert Khin said: “If certain sections have been hurt by the circular, it was unintentional.”

Natarajan R said: “My child has been studying for 10 years. The school is not against the 25%. The reason the circular was sent is to keep parents informed. We were asked to filed objections before July 30, 2010. The circular has been misread.”

Parents told to file objections

Jul 30, 2010, 11.51pm IST

Several ISCE/CBSE schools met on Friday to discuss the RTE act. ISCE Schools’ Federation of Karnataka president Mohan Manghanani said parents were not aware of any clauses in the act. “We have told them to file objections on http://www.schooleducation.kar.nic.in” he said.

School gheraoed

Twenty-five persons staged a protest outside Bethany High School on Friday against the controversial circular. Protesters gathered near the school campus around noon and shouted slogans.

The school will be closed on August 2 and 3 as a precautionary measure. “We haven’t sought any help as the police station is just next to the school,” headmaster Robert Kinh said.

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