New Delhi: The Centre has drawn up plans to open more Sanskriti-type schools all across the country to make it easier for government officers to secure admission for their children when they get transferred to metro cities.
On June 7, the personnel ministry released a draft policy note for the opening of schools along the lines of Delhi’s Sanskriti School to elicit the response of the people.
The decision is bound to raise eyebrows since the concept of opening such schools and reserving seats for the wards of Group A officers had come in for a scathing criticism from the Delhi high court last year.
Taking exception to the reservation of 60% of all seats for wards of Group A officers, the court had termed it an “analogous to the scenarios in Brown and Keyes cases (where the issues involved segregation of White and African-American student populations).”
The Centre and the Sanskriti School had subsequently appealed against the order in the Supreme Court, which in its order directed the school to admit wards of all central government employees with transferable jobs as well as those of Group A officers in the existing 60% quota.
As per its quota policy, the school had reserved 60% seats for wards of Group A officers, 25% for children coming from economically weaker sections, 10% for general public and 5% for its own staff.
With fewer seats now left for the wards of senior officers, the Centre wants to open more such schools. Its office memorandum said, “The success of the innovative and experimental project of setting up of Sanskriti School has led to demand from various other regions of the country for setting up of such schools in those locations as well.”
On the reasons for promoting the concept, the Centre said, “It is observed that All India Services as well as Central Services Officers face similar problems in other large metro cities where they are posted on transfer and where it becomes very difficult for them to secure admission for their children in schools. Similarly, officers of all India services and State Civil Services also get frequently transferred from various stations within the state to state capital and they also face similar problems. It is, therefore, view of the government that as a welfare measure, the government of India should also encourage and support opening of Sanskriti-type schools in other parts of the country.”
The policy note issued by the department of personnel and training elaborated on the development, saying, “Keeping with the spirit of cooperative federalism and need for a uniform system of administration, officers belonging to the All India Services (AIS) and the participating Group ‘A’ Services are borrowed under the Central Staffing Scheme (CSS) of the Government of India, to man middle and senior positions in the Government of India. The raison d’etre of such scheme is the Centre’s need to get officers with experience and competence that can add value to the policy making process and go back equipped with skills that enhance their functional capabilities and competencies in their respective cadres.”
The note also indicated that the opening of such schools could help resolve some of the issues officers who have been transferred have to face when arrange for quality education for their children – a change in education board and syllabus, and some schools refusing admission during the academic year.
Adding that the Sanskriti School is running in a self sustaining manner with recurring expenditure met by the fee collected, the note said in the last 10 years the school had established itself as one of the most reputed in the city. “At present, more than 2834 children are admitted to various classes up to class 12th with majority of them being wards of officers of All India and Central Services who have been posted to Delhi on transfer.”
The Centre has now proposed opening such schools in Lucknow, where a five acre plot has been allotted at Chap Ganjariya by the UP government, and Shillong, where a memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Meghalaya government and 10 acres of land has been earmarked at Mawdinangdiang for the school.
Almost admitting to various weaknesses that plague the Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs), the note said these schools do not fulfil the objectives to resolve the problems of transferable central government employees because the priority for admission to class II and above is given to children coming on transfer from other KVs and the scope for admission for other children was therefore limited. It also said the KVs have a policy of giving priority “on the basis of transfers suffered by the government employees in previous seven years” and this makes the admission position even more uncertain.
The Centre also said the Sanskriti-type schools do not have any recurring expenditure and they would not be a further drain on government resources like the KVs.
However, it must be remembered that after perusing the arguments, both in favour of and against the concept of the Sanskriti School, the Delhi high court had observed that “the state cannot provide funds to any private individual to establish a school for an elite segment of the society” and directed the government to “remediate this violation, and ensure that the school in question open its doors equally to all students.”
“The school possesses no justifiable basis upon which to label Group A Union Government officers as a suspect class. No logical rationale distinguishes this class of persons from other individuals engaged in other branches of the Indian Services,” it had said.
The court had also termed as “moot” the justification provided by the Centre that the schools providing a stable schooling environment for children of officers who get transferred around the country. It had said this predicament was being faced by all persons engaged in other branches of the Indian services.