A school in Thiruvananthapuram has allegedly denied admission to a boy whose parents did not fill the religion column in the application form, prompting the Kerala education department to seek a report.
The parents, Naseem and Dhayna, had sought admission for their son to the first standard at the St Mary's school, a government aided institution.
They alleged that school authorities had claimed that registration will not be possible on the education department’s ‘Sampoorna’ portal without filling the ‘religion’ column.
"We were informed by the school authorities that it was not possible to give admission to our child as we wrote 'nil' in the religion column. They claimed that if nil is mentioned, the admission process will not get registered in the school management software of the education department," Naseem said.
Sampoorna is a school management system project implemented by the Kerala education department to automate the system and process of over 15,000 schools in the state.
‘State Govt Denies Issue With Software’
The parents later approached the ministry and the Directorate of Public Instruction (DPI) to get further clarification.
“The state government officials denied that there were any issues with the software and confirmed to us that admission process was going on. When we approached the school authorities again, they asked us to give in writing that we, the parents will take responsibility of any issues that may occur in future,” Naseem said.
The parents then decided not to enrol their son at the school due to the manner in which the issue was handled by the institution. Reacting swiftly, the state government sought a report from the DPI and the deputy director of the education department on the matter.
"We have asked the DPI and the deputy director of the education department to look into the matter and file a report as soon as possible," Education minister C Raveendranath told PTI. The parents said after the news spread, a school official called them offering admission.
"But we decided not to enrol him there due to the approach of the school authorities," he said.
Naseem runs a catering business after returning from the Gulf.
‘Most Govt Benefits to School Children Based on Religion’
The school management in a release claimed that they sought a letter in writing from the parents to avoid trouble in future.
"When school authorities asked why the religion column was left blank, the parents said they were not interested in filling that part. The parents have that right. But most benefits given by the government to school children are based on religion. We just wanted to ensure that the parents take the responsibility in case the student misses out any such benefits in future," the management said.
School authorities maintained they never denied admission to any student. The parents are now looking for admission for their son in other schools in Thiruvanathapuram.
Ravindranath recently claimed in the state Assembly that over one lakh children in Kerala had left columns relating to caste and religion blank in school admission records during the 2017-18 academic year. In a written reply, he said as many as 1,24,147 children had not filled these columns while enrolling in different classes in government and government-aided schools during the period.
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