Saturday, March 15, 2014

dna exclusive: 82,000 kids in state study in unrecognised schools, 24,000 in city

Friday, 14 March 2014 - 7:15am IST | Agency: DNA
A large number of illegal schools exist on chief minister and education minister's home turfs
Govandi resident Shazia Khan (name changed), mother of a 14-year-old boy, had a tough time a year ago when she came to know that the school, in which her son was studying, was unrecognised.
"He was studying there since Std I. I wasn't aware that the school was unrecognised," said Shazia, who ran from pillar to post to get her child's admission done in another school.
Shazia's case is not an isolated one. As many as 110 schools across Mumbai are running without any approval and providing "education" to more than 24,155 children. The number of such schools across Maharashtra is 699, with a total enrolment of 82,278, the latest provisional statistics of the District Information System for Education (DISE) for 2013-14 have revealed.
While Mumbai and suburbs have topped the chart, the situation is equally appalling in neighbouring Thane (80 schools, 14,071 children) and Raigad (53 schools, 5,307 children) districts. The three districts, which form the Mumbai region, account for more than 35% such schools (243) and are providing education to over 55% children (45,000), exposing the unholy nexus of the babus and education mafia.
What's worse is these numbers are despite the state government's claims of putting its best foot forward to implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which has several stringent norms for schools besides infrastructure. As per section 18 (5) of the Act, the state is authorised to impose a Rs1-lakh penalty on person/s found running unrecognised schools. The penalty becomes Rs10,000 a day if they continue to run the school after being penalised the first time. However, according to school education officials, no school has been penalised under the Act so far.
The DISE survey is conducted annually by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a division under school education ministry. The SSA is a central scheme for which the state and the Centre together pool funds for elementary schools (Stds I to VIII). The budget for the current financial year is Rs1,300 crore in the state.
Aurangabad district, the home turf of school education and sports minister Rajendra Darda, has 16 unrecognised schools with 1,378 children. Even CM Prithviraj Chavan's Satara district has 36 such schools with 2,541 children.
A medium-wise break-up couldn't be obtained, but an official said over 60% unrecognised schools are English medium, which reflects the demand in society.
Educationist Milind Wagh said, "This shows that the school education department lacks a monitoring system."
Blaming the political class for this mess, activist Shyam Sonar said all political parties have been involved in this forgery for years.
"Unfortunately, many parents don't know that their child's future and hard-earned money are going down the drain and that the certificates of these schools have no legal validity," said a teacher.
Darda and primary education director Mahavir Mane were unreachable. However, chairman of the civic education committee Manoj Kotak said, "Many such schools operate from dingy rooms in the interiors of slums. They start as a playgroup and gradually go up to higher classes. We often crack down such schools."
Denying that scarcity of BMC schools has helped in the proliferation of such schools, Kotak said, "The demand for the education has increased, as has the craze for private schools. Many people choose these schools over corporation schools." He also blamed the state for its failure to bring a policy to regulate pre-primary education.

No comments:

Post a Comment