CBSE sermon to schools

The Central Board of Secondary Education has asked its affiliated schools to secure recognition from their state governments, if they haven't already, and meet all the safety standards but education activists dismissed the circular as a "publicity stunt".

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 3.06.18
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The CBSE headquarters in New Delhi. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education has asked its affiliated schools to secure recognition from their state governments, if they haven't already, and meet all the safety standards but education activists dismissed the circular as a "publicity stunt".

They said the directive was meant to assuage parents who have flooded the board with complaints about the schools' violation of safety rules and other norms, especially after a Class II boy was murdered inside a Gurgaon school last year.

Educationists and principals argued that the board, which kept issuing such circulars from time to time, lacked the manpower to ensure norm compliance and said the situation would not improve unless the state governments woke up and took notice.

Schools are established with permission from the state government, from whom they need to secure recognition under the Right to Education Act. The boards merely grant affiliation after the schools fulfil certain norms.

"The provisions of the RTE Act 2009 and the state education acts have been framed specifically keeping in mind the academic betterment and safety and security of schoolchildren," says the circular, signed by board secretary Anurag Tripathi and issued this week to all the 20,000 CBSE-affiliated schools.

"It has come to the notice of the board that schools are showing lax attitude towards the provisions contained in these enactments regarding academic betterment as well as the safety and security of students."

The circular asks the schools not to operate from multiple plots, or change addresses or names, or run multiple shifts without approval from the state government or the board.

"The school shall ensure that they have up-to-date building safety certificate, fire safety certificate, health and sanitation certificate and drinking water safety certificate from competent government authorities," it says, warning that failure to comply could bring disaffiliation.

Lawyer Ashok Agrawal, president of the All India Parents Association, which represents the parents of poor schoolchildren, agreed that many private schools were amiss on safety and academic standards but said the circular would achieve nothing.

"It is the state governments' job to ensure the schools adhere to their norms. The CBSE lacks the manpower to monitor or enforce standards. It routinely issues these kinds of circulars, mainly for publicity," he said.

A school principal said the CBSE made only cursory inspections before awarding or renewing affiliations to schools.

"If the schools are not serious about the norms, neither is the CBSE," the principal said.