BMC seals off private school operating on its premises
After mid-day exposed how the free English medium school was forcing parents to pay tuition fees, the civic body issued eviction notice to the trust and finally sealed the disputed classrooms
After the education department put up notices to evict a private trust from Nityanand municipal school, their classrooms were finally sealed last week, bringing an end to the dispute that had been going on since the last three months.
The education department is now inviting fresh admissions and have made arrangements to induct the 345 students from Varun International
Patel Education trust had taken the premises of the Andheri (east) school with permission to run an English-medium school, Varun International, promising to impart free education till Std IV.
mid-day had reported on March 10 how the privately-run entity was allegedly forcing parents, most of whom have modest means, to pay R5,000 per year as tuition fees without giving them any receipt. Students who could not pay were allegedly humiliated and punished publicly.
After the report, the education department of BMC issued a notice to the school to vacate their premises (mid-day has a copy of the notice). However, the civic body had to extend it till last Monday, as the trustees claimed they had not received any notice.
“We stuck notices on their classrooms that disappeared mysteriously. We put up a fresh notice, informing the trust that if they do not comply, we would have no choice but to evict them forcefully.
The trust has been using our classrooms for the last three years without paying any rent and owed the BMC close to R4 lakh, which was finally paid on Friday,” informed Mamta Rao, Administrative Officer BMC (schools).
A fresh start
The education department also put up banners and notices, stating that the institute will henceforth be known as Nityanand Municipal English medium MPS School, inviting fresh admissions.
Rao added that they have appointed a qualified teacher and a Headmistress who will henceforth run the school under strict BMC and RTE guidelines. “We have also made arrangements to induct the 345 students from Varun International, so that their studies are not hampered,” she said.
Mansi Apte, Education Superintendent (Acting Deputy Education Officer) of BMC said that initially, every student will be given free education till Std VIII, but soon, as per the demands of the parents, they may extend classes till SSC. Rajendra Darda, Minister of School Education of Maharashtra requested this journalist to mail him details of the case.
“The BMC is the final authority in such cases. It comes as a surprise to me how a private institution was allowed to run their classes and charge fees in a municipal school premises, whose primary aim is to impart free education to underprivileged kids,” he questioned. Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner of BMC (Education), who refused to comment during or after the mid-day exposé, refused to comment this time around as well.