Closure scare for private schools - HRD department mulls action against institutions without govt recognition

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  • Published 24.09.11

Patna, Sept. 23: The private elementary schools daring to dodge the human resource development (HRD) department’s directive to get registered with the state government could face strict action.

The deadline to seek the state government’s recognition is September 30. The schools faltering would either be made to pay hefty fine or could be asked to pull their shutters down.

HRD principal secretary Anjani Kumar Singh today said the deadline for all private elementary schools (from Class I to Class VIII) to get recognition from the state government would expire on September 30. The schools have to submit their accounts details for the past three years while applying for recognition.

The objective behind making the government registration mandatory for the schools is to check their infrastructure, said sources in the HRD department. It would also help the government ascertain the exact number of private elementary schools.

Explaining the difference between the recognition and affiliation of institutions, Singh said: “Schools get affiliated to different boards like CBSE or ICSE for examination purpose. The recognition relates with assessing the infrastructure facility and teachers’ strength in the schools.”

According to the Right to Education (RTE) norms, the schools should have certain minimum facilities like adequate teachers, playground and infrastructure.

Singh said: “The schools which lack infrastructure will be given time for improvement while the institutions having no infrastructure will be closed down.”

The state HRD department sent letters to all the private schools in May, directing them to seek recognition from the state government. But the private institutions are up in arms against state government’s directive.

The co-ordination committee of the Public School Association of Bihar has condemned the government’s decision, making registration mandatory for all the private institutions. The association claimed that as the case was pending in Supreme Court, the state government should have waited some more time.

Peter Arockiasamy, the principal of St Michael’s High School, said: “We are not against the RTE but the state government is forcing us to implement the RTE provisions. The government should have different rules for government schools, private schools and minority schools.”

Arockiasamy also said the private schools’ association members would meet the chief minister and discuss their problems.

Under the RTE norms, the teacher student ratio should be 1:30. The schools admitting up to 60 children should have two teachers. The institutions having above 150 students should have five teachers with a headmaster or a principal.

Schools running up to upper primary level (from Class VI to Class VIII) should have separate teachers for science, mathematics, social studies and languages.

The RTE norms state that the schools should be all-weather buildings having at least one classroom for every teacher and an office-cum-cum-principal’s room. The co-educational schools should have separate toilets for boys and girls.

The schools are supposed have safe and adequate drinking water facility for all children. They should also have playgrounds, sports kits and boundary walls.

With the HRD department contemplating strict action against the school authorities not following RTE norms, the biggest sufferers would be the schools operating from rented premises without basic infrastructure. There are several private schools in upscale localities of the state capital. Boring Road, Boring Canal Road, Patliputra Colony, Kankerbagh, Rajendra Nagar and other areas house several such institutions.