Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Students face 'school change' threat after changing address

Students face 'school change' threat after changing address

Shreya Bhandary, TNN Jun 21, 2012, 12.02AM IST

MUMBAI: Parents of 15 students studying at Arya Vidya Mandir School in Bandra (E) were surprised when the school asked them to pull out their kids from the school. These parents are among the few who changed their residence in the past couple of years and the school now claims that they don't fall in the "school zone" as mentioned at the time of admission.
"The school issued a circular last year asking parents to inform the school if they have shifted their residence recently. We did what we were asked to and suddenly we were called to the school to be told either to shift back to the old residence or pull out our children from school," said Ranvir Ahuja (name changed), whose children are studying in the school for four years. Ahuja was living at Dadar in a company rented flat and had to shift to Kurla in 2010 after the lease ended. "First thing I checked before shifting was if the school sends its bus to that area. Many students of the school live in my society but the school has not bothered to check with them," added Ahuja. After much deliberation, the school extended the admissions of his children for a couple of months. Ahuja has now been asked to meet the school principal to convey his decision on whether he will withdraw his children from the school or change his residence.

According to a rule listed in the school diary, parents have to intimate school authorities about change of address. But only those parents who intimated the school are now in trouble. "I shifted my residence in 2010 and one year later they informed me that I need to withdraw my children from the school. I managed to get my son into another school but my daughter is still studying at AVM," said Jyotsana N (name changed) mother of another student. "The school principal refuses to give us anything in writing or even countersign our letters. Following several requests, she finally agreed to give me an extension for a year. My daughter is feeling bad because she will have to leave her friends soon," she added.
Authorities at the education department were shocked. Sanjay Deshmukh, director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) said, "The compulsion for students to be from the area as mentioned by the school is valid only at the time of admission. Once the student has sought admission, it is the parents' prerogative if they want to shift their residence and as long as the parent can manage to send and pick up the child, the school has nothing to complain against." He also asked the parents to file an official complaint with the education department and SSA. "The school has no right to expel students on such flimsy grounds and once the parents file a complaint, we will definitely take action," he added.
For two days in a row TOI tried getting in touch with the school principal, Pramila Kudwa, but to no avail. On Wednesday, a spokesperson told our reporter that the school will directly get in touch with the education department in this matter.

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