Schools in the state of Maharashtra on India’s western coast will no longer be allowed to segregate students on the basis of their test scores—a practice known locally as “academic apartheid.”
A resolution adopted by the state legislature last month requires all government-run and private schools that receive government aid to end the practice, which opponents say also leads to self-esteem problems among children.
Low-scoring students assigned to lower divisions have been given fewer opportunities to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities. At the same time, those in higher divisions receive extra academic coaching, especially in high school.
The resolution followed a lawsuit filed with the state human-rights commission by a group of complainants, including the Parent-Teacher Association United Forum.
Arundhati Chavan, the president of the forum, told The Telegraph newspaper in India that 165 schools in Maharashtra, including 72 in the capital city, Mumbai, formerly Bombay, practice such segregation.
The plaintiffs said they plan to ask the National Human Rights Commission to end similar practices in the rest of the country.
A version of this article appeared in the February 22, 2006 edition of Education Week