The National Commission of Minority Educational Institutions is initiating an inquiry to assess the veracity of “harassment” complaints that some Christian missionary schools have slapped on the state government.
“We will hold meetings with the representatives of Christian missionaries and discuss the problems they are facing,” said R. Renganath, secretary of the commission, confirming that a team from the central body will visit Calcutta this week.
The alleged “harassment” is over issuing recognition and no-objection certificates (NOCs).
According to the rulebook, any new school in the state needs government recognition for affiliation with the state-controlled primary and secondary boards, while schools opting for ICSE-ISC or CBSE boards need an NOC.
Recognition plea of 60 Christian missionary schools and NOC applications of 12 schools are allegedly pending with the state government.
“We are coming up with a revised set of guidelines and so it will take another two months to clear the backlog,” claimed a senior official of the school education department.
From high tuition fees for students to poor salary structure for teachers, the applications are not getting the government nod for various reasons, said an official.
In some cases, lack of requisite space and absence of playground are cited as reasons for denial of clearances.
“Our school has a huge campus and all other facilities, but our NOC is pending for years,” alleged the representative of a school on the eastern fringes of the city.
Bangiya Christiya Pariseba, representing various churches running educational institutions in the state, is aware of the problem and has requested the national commission, set up with an act of Parliament in 2006, to intervene.
“The NOCs and recognition for missionary schools are being delayed for no reason at all,” said Herod Mullick, general secretary of the Pariseba.
Faced with an indefinite wait, some applicants have already shot off letters of protest to the national quasi-judicial body, empowered to receive and investigate complaints of violation and deprivation of minority rights.
These letters have triggered the visit by a team from the commission.
March 23 is when the team is scheduled to arrive for an on-the-spot examination of these complaints.
“The team will also discuss the issues with state government officials. The commission will then issue notices to the authorities concerned for resolution of the problems and will order an inquiry into cases it finds necessary,” explained Renganath.
The team, during its stay, will also meet representatives of minority institutions run by groups other than the Christian missionaries.