A month after mid-day’s expose on how Nityanand Municipal school in Andheri (East), which is supposed to impart free education to underprivileged children, has turned into a commercial centre which demands cash from parents at will, the authorities have finally swung into action. The school (which housed a privately-run entity called Varun International) forced parents to shell out Rs 5,000 each year as fees, for which no receipts were issued.
Parents meet with officials from the BMC and education department at Nityanand School
In a meeting organised on Thursday, over 50 parents aired their grievances to a panel of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials from the education department, which included Mansi Apte, superintendent and acting deputy education officer and Mamta Rao, administrative officer (BMC Schools). mid-day has a copy of the minutes of the meeting, which observed that out of the 12 teachers appointed by Varun International, only two were qualified to teach.
The report on the education racket that was carried by mid-day on March 10. Pic/Nimish Dave
Dr Richa Singh a member of Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR), an NGO which has been accepted as a part of the new school advisory committee, welcomed the decision to run the school under the BMC. “As per RTE norms, there needs to be a school every 1 km. This is the only English school in the area so the BMC should manage it. They arranged to bring in 12 qualified teachers from the BMC to the school,” she said.
Rajesh Rathod, the parent of a Std 7 student who was also instrumental in getting other parents to sign a joint petition (of which mid-day has a copy) against the school, alleged that the hefty education fees and non-issuance of receipts for the same was an open secret. “I was asked by the school management to pay R5000 in two installments, but refused. My son often complains about being punished and detained after school hours.” He added that soon after the article appeared, those who were quoted were summoned by the school authorities and were warned against speaking to the press.