A government-aided school in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala has allegedly denied admission to a boy whose parents did not fill the religion column in the application form during the admission process. The State Education Department has initiated an inquiry into the matter.
The parents, Nazeem and Dhanya, sought admission for their son for the first standard at a government-aided institution, St. Mary. They said that they want to raise their child without any religious boundaries which is the reason why they did not fill religion and caste column.
They have alleged that school authorities had claimed that registration will not be possible on the education department's 'Sampoorna' portal without filling the 'religion' column.
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.
As per news agency ANI, Dhanya told, "On February 19, when we reached the school for admission procedures of our child for the first grade we were asked why we have left the columns vacant. When we explained our part, the school management was adamant that only if we fill the religion and caste column, our child will be given admission."
The parents later approached the Ministry and the Directorate of Public Instruction (DPI) to get further clarification.
One of the parents said, "First, we were told that the admission process takes place through an app called Sampoorna in which school authorities cannot leave the column vacant."
She further stated that the education department has told them that there is no technical issue regarding leaving columns vacant.
The parent said, "When we conveyed it to school authorities they told us they will give admission to the child if we give an affidavit in writing stating that we don't wish to fill the columns. We did not want to do it and chose to opt-out."
The school management stated, "Many of the benefits provided by the government are based on religion, a reason why we insisted on filling the column. We asked the parents to file the affidavit if in future such benefits are denied to the student it will be their sole responsibility. Following the school's official statement, the institution's local manager contacted the parents saying there are no issues regarding the admission to their ward."
Regarding the matter, the State Government has sought a report from the DPI and the Deputy Director of the Education department.