Ganesh Chaturthi

Education or extortion?

18 December,2010 07:23 AM IST |   |  Kranti Vibhute

Education officer asks schools to shell out Rs 5,000 as donation to renovate the office he recently shifted into, say principals

Education officer asks schools to shell out Rs 5,000 as donation to renovate the office he recently shifted into, say principals

The State Education Department, in a repeat act, has asked South Mumbai schools affiliated to the State Board to chip in again, though this time, as in 2008, it is not to buy a birthday present for the State Education Minister.

The Education department of South Mumbai ward has been shifted to the third floor of Gilder Lane municipal school

It is to renovate a district officer's office, which recently acquired a new address.

In a meeting called by H Gadhari, District Education Officer of South Mumbai, of convenors from various wards, deputy education inspectors, and principals, aided and unaided schools were asked to contribute Rs 5,000 or more for the renovation of his new office, which has been shifted from a school in Grant Road to a municipal school in Mumbai Central.

Why should we pay?

City school principals from South Mumbai wards were reportedly irked at the demands for donation from the education department.

Said a principal who didn't want to be identified, "The meeting was called by the District Education Officer who asked for a donation of Rs 5,000 from all schools in the wards for the renovation of his office. I refused to contribute as I am answerable to my management.

On the one hand, the education department preaches about not taking donations from students, whereas on the other, they are asking for the same for their own ends. I don't think it's fair."

'Just a donation'

However, some dispute that the donation wasn't for office renovation but for repairing the District Officer's (South Mumbai ward) vehicle, while others believe it was for reanimating zonal offices of the department.
"The education department's ward office has been shifted to the BMC school, which is on rent. The government does not give grants for renovating a rented place.
This drove the district education officer to call a meeting where conveners, deputy education inspectors, and selected principals were called.

It wasn't a compulsion, but schools were asked to donate. The education officers' vehicle did undergo repairs but that was a while back.

I don't know whether the money is meant for repairing purposes," said a source from the Education Department

Office in bad state

One of the convenors, principal of a South Mumbai school, said, "We only collected money from all south Mumbai schools Rs 2,000 for a ward-level science exhibition."

A principal from a West Zone school that falls under the District Officer's jurisdiction, said, "A few schools, such as ours, decided to contribute some money to renovate the zonal officer's office as it was in a bad state.
The money wasn't for the South Mumbai ward office."

Officials say the office was shifted to Gilder Lane Municipal School opposite Mumbai Central railway station on August 14, as the Topiwala Lane High School, which housed the office earlier, was declared as unsafe for inhabitation by the BMC.

Abasaheb Jadhav, BMC education officer, said, "Since the building in Topiwala Lane was in a dilapidated condition, we allotted the place at Gilder Lane. We usually don't allow for structural repairs, but small renovations are permitted."

MP Patole, principal of Young Ladies High School, South Mumbai said, "We donated Rs 2,000 for the welfare of the department. After all we are the only people who have to visit the office for our work purpose.

There is no proper toilets, windows and even chairs to sit for the officials. While some schools have made the donations, others haven't. I believe they will give us a receipt later."

Aided schools in F-ward

Unaided schools in F-ward

Permanently unaided schools

Number of SSC schools in F-ward

The Other Side
H Gadhari, District Education Officer, South Mumbai ward, said, "There was no meeting called for convenors, nor for the deputy education inspectors for any money collection purpose. We had not asked for any money from any school for renovation of our office."


Education Department building repairs Schools mumbai