Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nobody need to certify distance, Zila parishad

Nobody need to certify distance, Zila parishad

Anjaya Anparthi, TNN Jul 10, 2012, 12.46AM IST

NAGPUR: Here's another instance of education officers making their own rules with respect to Right To Education (RTE) bill. The Zilla Parishad (ZP) education officer has absolved Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) of all responsibility of certifying the distance of an applicant's home from school. At the same time, it has ruled that schools should not deny anyone admission for want of a distance or proximity certificate.
Following demands of such certificate, NMC's education department (primary) had written on June 25 to education department, ZP, asking it to clarify under what rule or government directive it is required to issue such a certificate. Education officer (pimary), ZP, Someshwar Naitam in his reply on July 2 clarified that NMC had no responsibility for issuing such a certificate. This when no less than education secretary had asserted local bodies should certify the distance.

"There is no mention about responsibility of NMC to issue distance certificate in the rules framed under RTE. A school may not deny admission for want of distance certificate. The respective school has to verify and take a decision in case any dispute arises with respect of distance," he said. Citing the letter, NMC education officer Ram Dongarwar claimed NMC will not issue any such distance certificate. "Clarification coming from Zilla Parishad settled the matter," he said.

This seems hardly the case. Since the act clearly defines a school within 1 km from home as neighbourhood school, problems may arise. In case a school rules applicant does not stay within the stipulated distance, there is no clarity about resolving the matter. A NMC official said the applicant will have to approach the government or the courts. "ZP should write to the government asking it to clarify or appoint an authority to settle the dispute," he said.

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