Children of illegal immigrants blocked from enrolling in US schools

Some districts in US are blocking school admission of immigrant children. (photo TOI)

Immigrant children living in US without legal status have been blocked from registering for school and accessing the educational services they need, according to a report on school districts in four states by Georgetown University Law Center researchers.

Such students have faced long enrollment delays and have been turned away from classrooms as the result of some districts’ arbitrary interpretations of residency rules and state laws, the researchers said.

All children including those living in the US illegally must attend school through at least the 8th grade or until they turn 16 under compulsory education laws in all 50 states. Many states allow students to enroll beyond that age, according to the Education Commission of the States.

But some districts’ elaborate paperwork requirements effectively have kept immigrant youth out of school, while lack of translation and interpretation services have left their families uninformed about the process, the report found.

The Obama administration’s efforts to find and deport the tens of thousands of unaccompanied Central American children and families who arrived during the 2014 surge of illegal crossings have further complicated the situation, prompting some students to avoid school for fear that they will be picked up by authorities, the report’s authors said.

“US law is clear on this point no child in the United States should be excluded from public education,” said Mikaela Harris, a Georgetown law student who co-wrote the study issued by the university’s Human Rights Institute and the nonprofit Women’s Refugee Commission. “That doesn’t always play out in practice.”

In May 2014, then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued joint guidance with the Justice Department reminding districts that a 1982 Supreme Court ruling gives all children the right to enroll in school, regardless of immigration status.

 The report, which studied school districts in Florida, New York, Texas and North Carolina, calls for a strengthening of federal outreach to districts unaccustomed to serving newcomer populations and better assurances that educational access continues amid immigration enforcement. Researchers said they had presented their recommendations to the Department of Education.
 “We remain vigilant about our responsibility to protect the civil rights of all students, including immigrant students, undocumented students and unaccompanied immigrant students,” Education Department spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said. “We have provided a number of resources to communities in order to do so.”
 The agency is committed to working with federal agencies and community organizations to address any issues, she added.
 US Immigration Customs and Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said he had not seen the report so could not comment on it, but said agency policy in general precludes any enforcement activity at schools and other sensitive locations.

BJP in Delhi seeks resumption of services of teachers

Lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung. (photo TOI)

Opposition leader in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta on Monday met Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and sought resumption of services of 2500 contractual teachers who were recently terminated.

Gupta along with other BJP MLAs Om Prakash Sharma and Jagdish Pradhan, also participated in a teachers’ protest outside the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

 “These teachers were recruited years ago under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and were recently served termination notice. They were informed by the Delhi government that they were disengaged due to non-continuation of the posts by HRD Ministry,” Gupta said during his address to the protesters.
 “It is highly motivated and mischievous to say that the central government had done away with their services. Subsequent to termination of the services of contractual teachers under the schemem nearly 2.5 lakhs students are being denied education,” he claimed.

The opposition leaders submitted a memorandum to Jung, asking that he should impress upon the Delhi government to resume the services of 2,500 teachers under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan without any further delay.

 “LG gave a patient hearing to the leaders and assured to look into the matter,” Delhi BJP said in

Can’t conduct common test this year: Medical Council of India

The country has more than 400 medical colleges in the private and government sector offering MBBS courses.

The Medical Council of India will not be able to conduct the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for medical courses across the country this year, council vice-chairman Dr C V Bhirmanandham told TOI on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had cleared the decks for NEET by setting aside its 2013 order by which the common test for admissions to MBBS, BDS and PG courses in all medical colleges was quashed. “Till the matter is decided, NEET can be implemented,” the SC said while hearing a review petition.

 Bhirmanandham said the council has to issue fresh notifications if it wants to conduct the test for all states. Even if the notification comes within a week, students may not have enough time to prepare. “There is no uniformity in education across India and it may be unfair to ask students to appear for a common test which will be based on the CBSE syllabus, without giving them adequate time to prepare,” he said.
 In addition, the council should also talk to states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh which have been resisting the regulation since it was introduced. Tamil Nadu, for instance, said a common entrance will be a disadvantage to rural students as they would not have access to coaching centres. The state admits students to medical colleges based on Class 12 marks and 69% reservation after giving 15% of the seats to the all-India quota.
 Tamil Nadu had challenged the MCI’s decision stating its admission process under the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Admission in Professional Courses Act, 2006 precedes the MCI regulation that mandates a common test. “We have to come to a consensus with the state and issue fresh notification before the exams in May. That looks impractical,” Bhirmanandham said.
 The country has more than 400 medical colleges in the private and government sector offering MBBS courses. An instituition like the CBSE will have to organise question papers, examination centres and human resources to conduct the exam for several lakhs of medical aspirants, Bhirmanandam said.


CBSE National Eligibility Test December 2015 results declared

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Tuesday announced the results of the National Eligibility Test (NET) examination conducted on December 27, 2015.

The candidates can access their results on the official website:

 This year, the UGC NET is scheduled to be held July 10. The test will be conducted in 83 subjects at 88 selected NET examination cities across the country.
 The NET exam is held twice a year. The examination took place in 88 centres across the country.
 Since last year, the responsibility to conduct the NET exam was given to the CBSE by the Human Resources Development ministry because the country’s university regulator expressed its inability to conduct an exam of this level.
 The exam is conducted twice a year to select candidates for assistant Professor/Lecturer and for Junior Research Fellowships in colleges and universities across the country.

Common medical test unlikely this year, hints Centre

The amendment has also been cleared by the law ministry.

Even as the Supreme Court order on the Common Medical Entrance Test raised hopes of a uniform test from this year itself, the health ministry has indicated this may not be “practically” possible given the short notice.

The ministry has asked for suggestions from the Medical Council of India on whether there is any scope of conducting the examination this year, though officials conceded this might be a long shot.

“The notification for the common test has to be out by December. It may be too late to start the process now,” an official said. He added that a couple of exams have already been held and in many colleges the last dates have passed.

 In a cautious approach to streamline medical education, the ministry will also push for amendments in the MCI Act. “We will try to bring in changes to the Act so that it provides a strong ground,” a senior official in the health ministry said.
 Health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda has already approved the MCI’s recommendation for an amendment to the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act that will empower it to hold a nationwide common medical entrance test.
 The amendment has also been cleared by the law ministry. The health ministry is now waiting for comments from a few other related ministries including the HRD ministry.
 The official said the ministry will now try to expedite the process and place the changes in Parliament so as to avoid a roadblock when the SC revisits the case. On Monday, the apex court recalled its earlier order scrapping NEET for admissions to MBBS, BDS and PG courses.

Women to get more time for MPhil, PhD

All women candidates will also be provided maternity leave and child care leave for up to 240 days once while they pursue these two degrees.

Acting on suggestions made by HRD minister Smriti Irani last week, the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Tuesday decided to relax criteria for women and disabled candidates pursuing MPhil and PhD degrees.

Women and those with more than 40% disability will now get a year extra to complete their MPhil papers and two years more to submit PhD theses. All women candidates will also be provided maternity leave and child care leave for up to 240 days once while they pursue these two degrees.

In case a woman scholar needs to relocate because of marriage or otherwise during her study, she would be allowed to get research data transferred to the university to which she intends to shift provided all other regulatory conditions are followed and the research work does not pertain to a project secured by the parent institution or her supervisor from any funding agency. The scholar will also have to give credit to her parent guide and institution for the part of research already done.

 In another important decision, the full commission of UGC also decided that award of degrees to those registered for MPhil/PhD programmes prior to July 11, 2009 will be governed by the provisions of the then existing ordinances/bylaws/regulations and will be exempted from the requirement of the minimum eligibility condition of NET/state-level eligibility test for recruitment and appointment of assistant professor or equivalent posts in universities/colleges and other higher educational institutions subject to few conditions.
 The riders include award of PhD in regular mode only; PhD thesis should have been examined by at least two external examiners; open PhD viva voce of candidate should have been co- nducted, candidate should have published two research publications from his/her PhD work out of which at least one must have appeared in a refereed journal and candidate should have made at least two presentations in conferences/seminars based on his/her PhD work.

Also, a college accredited with highest grades in two running cycles and also secures the highest accreditation grade in the third from NAAC will get autonomous status provided it obtains an NOC from the affiliating varsity and adheres to certain UGC norms.