The Telegraph
Monday , February 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Schools want more time

Feb. 26: Authorities of various private schools today got together to protest the GMC’s decision to seal private schools that do not comply with safety norms.

They demanded that the GMC give them adequate time to take the required measures in keeping with the requirements of the building bylaws.

The recent sealing of the Modern English High School in the Assam Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) area by the GMC has sparked fear among numerous private schools facing the same fate. The school was sealed last week for its failure to comply with the norms.

Addressing reporters today, Biren Das, principal of the Guardian Public School, said: “We have full regard for the municipal corporation’s concern over the safety of students. But they will have to understand that we need time to arrange for the safety facilities in accordance with the safety norms of the building bylaws.

“A number of private schools is housed in residential buildings and the safety norms require them to be shifted to a building with a playground. But it is not possible for them to shift the school within this academic session as classes have already begun and hence, the GMC should give us more time.”

Several schools also claimed the GMC had never briefed about the new building bylaws.

“The GMC does not have any specific requirements as regards the setting up of a private school. We have already installed fire extinguishers and made arrangements for sufficient water supply on our campus, keeping in mind the safety of our students in case of a fire. The GMC should have informed us about the bylaws that were framed in 2006. As per the notifications our school should have a separate staircase for the students to exit in case of a natural calamity or an accident, but we need time to complete its construction,” said S.P. Bhattacharya, principal of a private school in the city who refused to name the school.

“We were never briefed in writing about the bylaws by the GMC. In our school, we have always given priority to the safety of students and most of the safety measures are in place. Are the students of small private schools only in danger? Why does not the GMC inspect the big private schools, many of which also do not comply with safety norms?” asked a teacher of the Little Star School in Kalapahar.

This school happens to be among the 12 schools that have been served notice by the GMC for not adhering to safety norms.

“I cannot afford to send my four-year-old daughter to big private schools, which are very expensive. I am happy with my daughter’s progress in her studies at the Guardian Public School. Where will I enrol my daughter in the middle of a session? If this happens, one academic year will be lost,” complained Ashim Karmakar, a parent.