‘No Aadhaar, no admission’, says a school: Violation of Right to Education Act, say activists

NEW DELHI, APRIL 12 (ENA) A lady (name not disclosed) who took her nine-year-old daughter to Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in East Delhi’s New Seemapuri seeking admission in the government-run school, had to return home without success as she was told by a teacher, “Ghar mein bithao,” because her daughter does not  have an Aadhaar number.

It may be recalled that the Delhi government made the 12-digit unique identification number one of the four compulsory pieces of information that a child is required to submit for admission into one of its schools. This decision of the Delhi government was taken on the sidelines of a two-year-old government campaign to push parents to enroll their children with Aadhaar.

The Delhi government validates its move, saying Aadhaar enrolment in Delhi is almost complete and that this is the only feasible way to track children through education systems, both public and private.

The government argues that the insistence on every child having an Aadhaar number helps prevent duplication in school enrolment – a situation where a child has joined another school without formally withdrawing from the previous one she was attending.

Activists, on the other hand, counter the assumption that all children are already enrolled in schools. They say that the demand for Aadhaar is a violation of the Right to Education Act. “The Right to Education Act 2009 requires no documents – not even proof of age – for admission,” said lawyer and activist Khagesh Jha. “It exists to remove such barriers.”

One of the activists added that several children were finding it impossible to enroll for Aadhaar because local enrolment centres “insisted on birth certificates and address proof which many children did not have”.