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No Screening Test for Model Schools in India

Screening Test

Adding a new twist to the screening procedure in schools, the law ministry has told the HRD ministry that there can be no screening test in the proposed model schools as the Right to Education Act clearly prohibits it.

HRD ministry had sought the views of the law ministry following a query by the Karnataka government about screening in the model schools. Out of the proposed 6,000 model schools, 3,500 will be set up by the Centre while the remaining 2,500 will be in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. These schools will be modelled on the highly successful Navodaya Vidyalayas. Admission to Navodaya Vidyalayas, running in 540 districts, in class VI is through an entrance examination designed by the CBSE.

If the law ministry’s views are accepted by HRD, it will also mean that Navodaya Vidyalayas will have to admit students without any entrance exam.

HRD ministry has already received a query from the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti seeking guidance on screening. NVS had sought the ministry’s views after it was issued a notice by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights that the screening was violation of the Right to Education Act, especially section 13 that clearly prohibits screening of the child or the parent.

NVS sources say doing away with the entrance exam will tell on the quality of these schools. “Navodaya Vidyalayas cater to the poorest of the poor and have proved themselves over the years,” a source said.

The law ministry’s view will only add to the demand for amendment in the Right to Education Act, especially the provision of no-screening. It is likely that Navodaya Vidyalayas and even Kendriya Vidyalayas will be allowed to screen students.

As reported by the TOI, HRD minister Kapil Sibal had said last week that there were practical problems in implementing the no-screening provision. He had, therefore, suggested that while there should be no screening for 25% poor children in the neighbourhood, the rest 75% students should go through the process of screening.