Back to school? Not without a transfer certificate

Location IconUdaipur district, Rajasthan

Deepika lives in a village outside Udaipur, Rajasthan, where she was studying in the primary section of a low-cost private school. Pandemic-induced school closures and no access to a digital device effectively cut off her learning exposure. Her parents also lost their livelihoods and did not pay fees for two years. The school provider had to let go of all his teachers and shut down the school. 

Post the pandemic, Deepika tried to enrol in a new school. But her previous school had not issued her a school transfer certificate (TC)—an official document provided to a student when they leave a school or college—due to non-payment of fees. As a result, her parents could not enrol Deepika even in a free government school. The TC has become a powerful tool to force the hand of parents and has led to the exclusion of poor students like Deepika. Some states are even insisting on a TC for admission into open schools, often the last resort for children to continue their education outside of formal schools. 

Education departments in some states have directed schools to do away with the mandatory TC for admission, with the threat of action against them if they defy the directive. This includes private schools and non-state boards too.

As expected, school operators have been up in arms saying parents will use this directive to keep moving the students and dodge fee payment. Given the complexity involved, the TC issue needs immediate attention. State governments need to look at it keeping in mind the interest of marginalised and vulnerable children and ensure that a school TC does not become a weapon of mass exclusion. 

Safeena Husain is the founder of Educate Girls.

Know more: Learn how Jan Aadhar card has become a barrier to women’s education in Rajasthan.

Do more: Connect with Safeena Husain at [email protected] to learn more about and support her work.


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