Thursday, March 6, 2014

City schools violating norms to be shut down

15 education officers will be conducting surprise checks to look out for schools that refuse to admit children under RTE Act, extract donations, and charge exorbitant fees
Nozia Sayyed
Posted On Wednesday, March 05, 2014 at 08:15:59 AM

In a strict move by the State Education Department, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) School Board has been ordered to disqualify and shut schools found violating government norms.

Institutions admitting students under the Right To Information (RTE) Act, conducting interviews of parents and children for admissions, arbitrary fee hikes, extracting donations in the name of building funds, not giving an acknowledgement receipt, etc, will be penalised.

File Photo
The PMC School Board aims at regularising and improving the system

“Surprise checks will be conducted by various teams and those schools found violating the RTE norms or charging excessive fees for no reason will be punished,” said Mahaveer Mane, State Education Officer, who added, “There was no rule under which we could penalise a school for its wrongdoing. Now, we want to regularise and improve the system and create a threat for rule breakers.”

This decision was taken after the State Education Department received a set of complaints from two city NGOs — Shikshan Hakka Manch and Highlights Forum — on Monday, that named some schools routinely flouting norms.

“Institutions like St Ursula, St Andrews, Bajaj School, DAV and MIT school for pre-primary, Kothrud, are creating problems for parents. Parents who approach a school for admissions are interviewed along with their children and are asked for huge sums as donations.

This is a punishable offence,” he added. Confirming the order from the State Education Department, Ravindra Chaudhry, chairman, PMC School Board, said, “We have been ordered to keep an eye on schools who do not follow the RTE Act and government norms. All these years, no school was punished on these grounds but henceforth they will have to face the music.”

Fifteen education officers have been appointed to give a detailed report of the erring schools.

Matin Mujawar, founder director of the Shikshan Hakka Manch, told Mirror, “We submitted a written complaint to the State Education Officer on Monday. The education officer had promised us to be watchful. In case the department fails, we will call a protest against the Department.”

Sharda Wani, a parent whose son was admitted to MIT School for pre-primary, Kothrud, last year under the RTE Act, said, “Though the admission was done for free, the school charged us for the uniform, picnics, art and craft etc. So far we have paid Rs 2,000 to them. We have taken up this issue with the PMC School Board.”

On the other hand, Sangita Deshpande, supervisor from MIT School for pre-primary, said, “We have not charged a single parent so far who have admitted their kids under the RTE Act. The allegation is false.”

Jayshree Venkatraman, principal, Indus World School, Wanowrie, said, “This step is welcome but we expect the policy makers to make sure that the policies are better structured.”

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