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Chennai : Admitting poor students may bring down discipline and the quality of education and also demoralize teachers, says Sri Sankara Senior Secondary School. In a circular issued to students by the Adyar-based school, principal Subala Ananthanarayanan has linked a student's performance to his/her economic status and asked parents to protest against the Right to Education Act.
The circular said that under the Act, the school would have no choice but to admit students from poor families, which would pull down its standards. Ananthanarayanan urged parents to "protest and fight" against the Act. Suggesting that the state's decision to implement it from the coming year could force the school to increase fees, she asked parents to appeal to the state and the Centre not to implement the Act in its present form. The law makes it obligatory on the state governments and local bodies to ensure that every child gets education in a neighbourhood school. The district education officer can admit 25% of poor children living nearby to any private school as per the Act. According to it, if a child around nine years old has never been to school, he/she must be admitted to the fourth standard after some training. The schools cannot refuse admission, and must provide education free of cost.
"These rules will be damaging to the class and the entire school, and therefore to your child's education," the circular said. The circular says that the act should not be implemented as it denies the school the powers to discipline or detain a child and choose the medium of education. The school states that it would be under constant legal threat and harassment from government. "All this will make all schools perform exactly like government schools in quality and discipline. Is this why we have admitted our children in this or any good school?" the circular asks. It tells parents that their quality of education will suffer as teachers will have a difficult time managing and educating a few children, who are not qualified for the particular class, or who are very difficult to manage. "Most of the teachers' attention, time and energy will go toward educating and managing these children, as the school and teacher are held responsible, under the act."
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