The Church of North India (CNI) has barred its schools from collecting money from students for events such as raffles and Teacher’s Day celebrations, but programmes like music concerts, sports competitions, community service and felicitations have been exempted.
A circular sent to the schools under the Calcutta Diocese of the CNI states that the church would not allow any monetary collection from students other than tuition and education-related fees.
“No monetary collection, in any form, must be allowed in any school from the students during the year. This, however, does not apply to the tuition fee and other related fees,” it says.
The decision was taken after two rounds of meetings between the church authorities and the school heads.
“We do not want our schools to burden the parents unnecessarily,” said Reverend Ashoke Biswas, the Bishop of the Calcutta Diocese of CNI.
The church has cautioned all schools that students should not be involved or allowed to raise money for organising events such as Teacher’s Day programmes or for buying gifts for teachers and principals, a source in the CNI said.
The decision has been construed as the Oindrilla effect. The parents of the Class V student of Christ Church Girls’ High School had alleged that she died after senior students tortured her while collecting money for Teacher’s Day.
Soon after Oindrilla Das’s death, guardians and outsiders vandalised the CNI-run school in Dum Dum.
The circular says teachers are prohibited from accepting gifts other than flowers and sweets from students on Teacher’s Day or on their birthdays.
“Principals and teachers must not accept any gift from any student on any occasion. This does not include a small token like flowers, sweets, etc.,” it says.
CNI sources said the restriction on raising money from students would prevent guardians from levelling Oindrilla-type allegations against the schools and the church.
The schools, however, will be allowed to collect money from students for annual concerts and sports events but only from those participating in such programmes.
The amount collected for such functions can be spent only for purposes related to the event — say, on hiring or purchasing costumes for the participants and paying make-up artists.
“We want to stop the practise of raising money from students for a cause that is not related to any student activity,” a CNI source said.
The schools are, however, allowed to take donations for arranging felicitation and community programmes. “Even for such events, no student should be pressured,” the source said.
The CNI has also decided to do away with an age-old practice of collecting money from students for raffle and other social activities on behalf of the school or for social welfare organisations.
“We will not allow any NGO to ask our students to raise funds for them because guardians often think they are doing so for the school,” the source added.