Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Court easing of quotas helps Church schools

Madya Pradesh, India: Church leaders in Madhya Pradesh have hailed a state court asking religious minority-run institutions to allow other students to take places reserved previously for minority students.
“This is a move in the right direction. It will have a far reaching impact on the functioning of the minority professional education institutes in the state in the future,” said Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur.
A state education policy reserved 50 per cent of seats in a minority-run professional institution to students from that community.
In states such as Madhya Pradesh, where Christians form less than one per cent of the population, this would mean several Christian institutions operating with little over half of its capacity.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court on May 6 asked the state to change the regulation and said that if seats are vacant in the “minority” category they should be offered to students on the wait list from the “general” category.
The court order came after Victoria College, a Muslim-minority institution, challenged the state government’s policy of not allowing other students to take up the vacant minority seats.
Bishop Almeida said the order would widen the scope of Church institutions to give maximum benefit to Christians as well as other sections of society.
He said the state’s education policy discouraged Christians from registering themselves as minority institutions as they would then be forced to manage them with half empty seats.
Christians can now “fearlessly register” their professional educational institutions as minority institutions, he said.
The order will help the Church admit poor students to the vacant reserved quota of seats, Church officials said.
The order would help us “do a great job in providing higher professional education,” said Father Valan Arsu, vice principal of the Church-run St. Aloysius College.

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