A year after the PMC officials first visited Aksharnandan School on Senapati Bapat Road in July 2012 and issued a notice to its management to vacate the buildings the institute had occupied, the civic body served the management a second eviction notice. An unaided educational institution, Aksharnandan had set an example in the education sector by introducing experimental education. The notice that was issued recently, based on the civic education board’s suggestion, states that the 22-year-old institution must vacate the building and its playground they had leased from the civic body by the end of the current academic year. This because the PMC plans to start a municipal school there.
“As the two-storeyed building and the adjacent playground belongs to the PMC, the education board wants to start a new civic school in the same place where Aksharnandan is currently running some of its classes. The proposal in this regard has already been approved by the education board following which the estate department has issued a notice to school management to vacate one of its buildings,” Shivaji Daundkar, PMC education board chief said.
Located in Shivaji Housing Society, the school currently operates from two buildings. While the main building, taken from PMC on a 99-year lease, holds classes from I to VII, classes for remaining standards (VIII to X) are conducted in the building the PMC wants. A total of 160 students are taught in this building. Back then when the PMC served eviction notice in July 2012, the school management with the help of stakeholders -- renowned personalities -- initiated a campaign against the civic body following which the PMC and the education board ended the matter.
When asked why did the PMC swing into action after a year’s gap, Daundkar said unlike the bygone members of the education board, who decided not to pursue the matter, the new ones were of a different opinion. Confirming that the school had received an eviction notice from the civic body, principal Rashmi Pandit said, “We have approached Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak and he assured us that he will look in to the matter and do the needful.” When contacted, Pathak made it clear that the school management had no option but to vacate the building.
“If the school has such a high reputation, then it must find its own land. After all, it’s a commercial venture. As the building and the playground belongs to PMC, we obviously want to start a civic school on the plot,” Pathak said. On mentioning that the number of Marathi medium civic schools in the city was depleting and that Aksharnandan School was an exception and had been operating for the last 22years, Pathak said, “That is a different issue. We are going by rules.”
Eminent educationist and founder trustee of Grammangal School Ramesh Panse said, “Those who have powers to use the law are least bothered about education. Rather than taking note of the new initiatives in the education sector, they prefer to create nuisance just to satisfy their ego. I don’t know the exact details of the issue, but I expect that PMC officials should reconsider their decision.”
Want to pitch in?
Those who wish to help the Aksharnandan School management can contact Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak between 10 am and 5 pm on 020-25501103, 25501112
Did you know?
Run by N G Naralkar Foundation, Aksharnandan was started in 1992 by a group of people as an alternative to the existing education system that focuses solely on competition and exam-oriented rote learning. The founders believed that education is the process to actualise their vision of a society and an individual in the society. It is a government recognised non-aided school running classes from KG to X with 40 students in each class and no divisions. The school has accepted the formal framework of the SSC board and follows the curriculum recommended by the government.