SV Union Primary School will have to follow RTE Act: ZP

The Zilla Parishad last week ruled that Saraswati Vidyalaya Union Primary School abide by the rules of Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009. The probe by the ZP indicted the school for violation of the RTE Act, besides other irregularities.

On January 16, a complaint was lodged with Zilla Parishad Education Department against the school which is an aided minority school, for violation of RTE Act and cheating, as they had produced false information that 45 students of the economically weaker section were given free admission in Lower Kindergarten for the academic year 2012-13.

"The school had charged fees under various heads such as tuition fees, term fees, caution money, money for uniforms, etc. The RTE Act states 25 per cent seats be reserved for children belonging to economically weaker sections of society and that no money should be charged. This is gross violation of the law. They also have an extra division, which is illegal," said advocate Nilesh Borate, an activist and a complainant in the case.

The Zilla Parishad had issued a directive to PMC School Board to conduct a thorough probe. PMC's School Board Chief Shivaji Daundkar had instructed Shivaji Bhokare, assistant education officer, PMC, to conduct a probe and submit the report. "In the probe it was found that the ground used by the school was provided by PMC besides some others aids. Hence, the school is aided and RTE Act is applicable," said Daundkar.

The inquiry report revealed that the school took money under various heads from the 45 students . "The school authorities have been running an extra division since 2006 without seeking permission from the education authorities. Various other irregularities were also found," said Daundkar.

The ZP instructed the school to refund the money taken from the 45 children. They directed the PMC School Board to independently initiate action against the school authorities for running an extra division from LKG to Class IV without seeking permission, and for collecting Rs 12,000 as caution money from the students —amounting to capitation fees. "We have done no wrong. We do not come under RTE because we are not aided. The inquiry report is wrong. Till now we have never claimed any money from the government under RTE Act. Since we do not come under it, the government will not reimburse us. We were cooperative towards the inquiry, but were not given a chance for a hearing. We will think and decide about whether to take legal action or not," said Nagarajan, Secretary, SV Union Trust that runs the school.

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