The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt cracks code whip on schools

The government on Monday gave a clear indication that it was ready to frame a new set of rules to define its role in regulating the functioning of Anglo-Indian schools.

“On the basis of the Supreme Court’s latest judgment, we are actively considering a new set of regulations and guidelines that will govern the functioning of Anglo-Indian schools assisted by us,” state school education minister Kanti Biswas told Metro.

The move follows a recent Supreme Court ruling on the role of governments — both state and Central — in minority schools, especially with regard to recruitment and admission. The governments concerned have every right to interfere through “regulatory measures” in the functioning of the state-aided minority institutions, the apex court had ruled.

“We are actively considering the matter (of introducing new regulations and guidelines) that will determine the functioning of Anglo-Indian schools which avail of dearness allowance (DA) grants from the state government,” Biswas said.

He added that the government spent “a substantial amount” (approximately Rs 30 crore) every year on this head.

If and when the state government finalises its plans to clamp down on these schools, all 67 Anglo-Indian institutions — most of them in the city — are likely to be affected. “I don’t think there should be any opposition from any quarter if we try to establish our right on the administrative affairs of those schools,” the minister said.

Making it clear that the scope of the regulations would go beyond mere money matters, Biswas said they would “affect other important administrative matters” as well. “They may relate to admission procedures, appointment of employees, the kind of benefits that the schools should offer their employees and so on,” the minister elaborated.

The guidelines, however, will not encroach on any area that has not found mention in the Supreme Court ruling.

“All I can say now is that the guidelines will be framed after a thorough examination of all the provisions of the ruling delivered by the Supreme Court,” said Biswas.

The Anglo-Indian schools have warned that this could mark the beginning of Calcutta’s “elite” schools coming under direct control of the state government. The heads of some of these institutions have already held informal discussions to devise ways of doing away with the government grant for their employees’ DA.

A strategy to cope with the sudden withdrawal of the government’s DA grant is still being worked out, said C.R. Gasper, president of the Association of Heads of Anglo-Indian Schools. “Let the government first spell out its guidelines… Only then can a final decision be taken.”

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