Wednesday, February 12, 2014

RTE: 'Closed' schools function without problem

RTE: 'Closed' schools function without problem

Payal Dhawan, TNN Jan 31, 2014, 01.27AM IST

LUDHIANA: The district education office recently updated its list of schools closed during 2012-13 for failing to follow Right to Education (RTE) norms. The list of 1,170 schools from Punjab, which was updated on the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) website, also features 60 schools from Ludhiana. Among the 60 schools, there are two prominent CBSE schools, which are branches of the Ryan International franchisee. These two schools have been shown as closed but are very much functional.
The district education office, under the supervision of district education officer (DEO) Ranjeet Singh Malhi, forwarded a list of almost 200 schools not following RTE norms to SSA headquarters in May, 2012. Malhi explained the lapse saying Ryan International branches are exempt from RTE norms. "We included both branches of Ryan international in the list of defaulter schools as they are not following RTE norms. But we can't close these schools as they are minority schools," he said.
Ironically, the DEO appeared to be vague about the precise meaning of a minority institution. "I am not sure, but I think there are two things. One is that the school management should be of the minority category. Secondly, students should belong to the minority," he explained.
According to the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, minority educational institution refers to a college or institute (other than a university) established or maintained by a person or group of persons from amongst the minority.
"In a minority institution, the management or trust should be from the minority category. As far as exemption in RTE is concerned, earlier there were exemptions to minority schools but all exceptions were discontinued after a circular sent by Sarav Shiksha Abhiyan. Our school also filled the RTE form and followed it too," said Harmeet Kaur, principal of Nankana Sahib Public School, a minority school.
Mona Singh, principal of another minority school, Guru Nanak Public School said, "Even I was not very clear about the definition of minority educational institutions. I asked the CBSE for a clarification. As for RTE, our school, which is a minority school, has also filled the form under RTE."
Ritu Sayal, principal of Ryan International School, Dugri was tightlipped, except for their status as minority institution. "Yes, we are a minority educational institution," is all she said.

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