204 unauthorised public schools functional in Mumbai

As many as 204 unauthorised private schools are currently operating within the municipal corporation limits of Mumbai, an RTI query has revealed.

Activist Anil Galgali had sought information about such institutions from the School Education Department on June 25 this year. In its reply, Deputy Education Officer of the Private Primary Schools department, Prakash Chahate handed over a list of all the unauthorised private schools.

As per the list, the maximum of 36 such schools fall in the jurisdiction of M west ward in Chembur, followed by 30 such schools in Kurla L ward, 20 in P north ward, 12 in Ghatkopar N ward, 12 in Chembur M east ward, 10 in Matunga F north ward, 10 in Andheri K east ward, 10 in R Central ward, 10 in R north ward, 9 in R south ward, 9 in Bhandup S ward, 8 in P south ward, 8 in G north ward, 5 in Byculla E ward, 5 in Andheri K west Ward, 3 in B ward, 2 in Mulund T ward, 2 in F South ward, 1 Each in A Ward, H East ward and D Ward.

On the query of action taken against such schools, Galgali was informed that as per provisions of the Right to Education Act and actions based under section 18(5) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, fine of Rs 1 Lakh is levied on any unauthorised school.

The reply stated that if the school failed to comply with then a fine of Rs 10,000 is imposed per day. The department also informed that all the said schools have been issued notices.

The RTE Act 2009 does not contain clarity on 'Account Head' under which the recovery of fines levied on unauthorised schools have to be collected. The clarity is even absent in the orders of the government as well its various resolutions issued in regard to the implementation of the Act.

The department has sought necessary directions from the government regarding the Account Head under which the fines levied have to be collected and deposited with the treasury, but it has yet to receive the necessary guidelines from the government, Galgali said

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