Christians sore at proposed Didi Bill for minority schools

Bill makes it mandatory for minority schools to have 50 pc of students from own communities

The West Bengal government is all set to introduce a Bill in the next session of state Assembly which will make it mandatory for the minority schools to admit 50 per cent of their students from their own community.

It will also stipulate that all members of the governing bodies of such schools will have to be from the same community. The Bill is going to be cleared in the next Cabinet meeting to be held after Durga Puja holidays. However, the government move has caused widespread discontent among the minority schools and organisations.

And once it becomes an Act, all the 900-odd English-medium missionary schools of the state will lose the "minority" status they have been enjoying as only a few of them have 50 per cent of their students belonging to the community that runs the schools.

Once the schools lose the minority status, the state government's reservation policy regarding recruitment of teachers and admission of students will be applicable to them. Besides, the minority institutions which run the schools will also lose control over the management of the schools.

"The government has taken the decision in the interest of the students,'' said one senior official of the Madrasa and Minority Affairs department which functions under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

There was a proposal from the National Minority Commission a few years back that a minority-run school should have 30 per cent of their students from the community that is running the institution.

Christian organisations had opposed the move vehemently and the suggestion was dropped.

This time not only Christian organisations and principals of various missionary schools but officials of the state minority commission have also raised their voice against the move.

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