BeyondHeadlines News Desk
Admission of Muslim students is increasingly becoming a rarity in the private schools of the national capital. This situation has alarmed activists and intellectuals alike. Gen. Secretary of Lok Jan Shakti Party, Abdul Khaliq has raised serious questions in his letter to Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Minister of Delhi and has copied the letter to Kapil Sibal, the Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
The letter of Abdul Khaliq is produced below:
Dear Madam Sheila Dixit ji,
It has rightly been said that the answer to all our national problems comes to a single word and that word is “education”. Of particular importance is the education imparted to the youth. Many centuries ago, Aristotle observed that “all who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of a civilisation depends on the education of the young.”
The uncomfortable truth about schooling in the national Capital is that quality education is available mainly in private schools. In point of fact, a yearly, area-wise survey of schools in Delhi conducted by a leading national daily has invariably listed only private schools among the ten best institutions in each area. It is also a stark reality that children educated in these private schools have a clear advantage when later competing for admission to college, professional and vocational courses. Madam, this brings me to the main point of the letter. There is deep disquiet within the Muslim community at the fact that they are denied the basic and fundamental right of just and equal access to school education. We have collected damning evidence to show that a palpably biased and unequal system has ensured that Muslims cannot have an adequate presence in private schools. The invisible but impenetrable wall of historical prejudice and official apathy has resulted in the present grim situation. Data collected of the number of Muslim children admitted to nursery out of the total nursery admissions in private schools clearly demonstrates the systematic discrimination and exclusion faced by the Muslim community. It is clear that private schools discriminate not only on the basis of the social status of the aspirants but also on religious grounds. Although Muslims comprise about 15 percent of the population, less than 0.5 percent of Muslim children have been admitted to nursery in private schools in Delhi.
There are clearly fundamental flaws in the admission procedures adopted by the private schools. Most significantly, schools are following widely differing yardsticks for admission. For instance, Indian School, Sadiq Nagar has earmarked 30 points for those living in the neighbourhood and Blue Bells,Greater Kailash 40 points; whereas Cambridge Primary School; New Friends colony has only 10 neighbourhood points. Moreover, the concepts of “neighbourhood” vary from 2kms to 12kms. For reasons well known to everybody, Muslims are concentrated in a few segregated ghettos and Slums, of which Zakir Nagar is one. Although it is less than 2kms from Cambridge school, children of Zakir Nagar are awarded only 7 neighbourhood points whereas Friends colony gets 10 points and much more distant Lajpat Nagar applicants are also given 7 points. It may be a coincidence but the sad fact is that private schools near Muslim-dominated colonies have kept the neighbourhood points very low.
A number of private schools have deliberately withheld information regarding the mix of students who have applied and the number admitted, although such information should legitimately be in the public domain.
Many private schools have introduced a complicated set of criteria that include points for Community service,Parents schooling from outside Delhi, transfer, National award winner, Single Parent ,etc. So elastic is the criteria that it gives the school management leeway to admit whomsoever they please.
There is only one quality school under Muslim management in the city, i.e. Hamdard Public School, Sangam Vihar.Because of obvious difficulties in getting admission in good neighbourhood schools, Muslim children are obliged to commute 2-3 hours to school and back every day from distant colonies. For example, large number of Muslim students travel from Taj and Sartaj Enclave, Geeta Colony, Ajmeri Gate etc., to Hamdard Public School.
Distressed Muslim parents have approached us to take up this issue with the Government. Madam, knowing your unflinching commitment to the cause of the weaker sections, particularly the minorities, we are confident that you will issue the necessary directives to resolve the problems that we have highlighted above.
With warm regards
- Shri Kapil Sibal , Honb’le Minister of Human Resource Development: May kindly recall that this issue was raised by me on 4th Feb at the conference on Muslim Education at the India Islamic Cultural Centre.
- To The Principal of the private schools in the enclosed list.