Mumbai school pulled up for asking donation from students

Feb 09, 2014, 07:20 IST | Kranti Vibhute

State Child Rights Commission asks education department to step in after school, facing a possible shutdown, forces students to donate Rs 10,000 each to save it from closing down

A month after Byculla’s Gloria Convent High School asked students to cough up Rs 10,000 each to save the school from shutting down, the State Child Rights Commission (CRC) has warned the school of stern action and asked the state education department to step in to decide the fate of the institution.

The state collector’s office had asked the Gloria Convent High School in Byculla to pay a higher monthly rent or move out of the premises, in July 2013, after the lease on the land expired

The state collector’s office had asked the school to pay a higher monthly rent or move out of the premises in July 2013 after the lease on the land expired last year.

On Saturday, CRC authorities heard the school officials and parents out in presence of state education department members. BB Chavan, education inspector South Zone, told SUNDAY MiD DAY, “We sent a letter to the school on Friday, asking them not to force the students to pay any amount. Our education officer went to attend the hearing yesterday. We have been asked to give our view on the issue within a week. We have come to know they are making parents sign a form stating they are donating the money willingly. But it is illegal to accept any donation from parents even if given willingly. We have warned the school and management.”

Parents, too, are obviously angry. Salil Sayyed (name changed), a parent, said, “We were told to pay R10,000 after the collector issued the school an eviction notice. We were scared the school authorities would fail our children or throw them out.”

Echoing Sayyed’s sentiments, Rupesh Shah, (name changed), another parent said, “The school made us sign a form that stated we were paying the money willingly.

We paid up for the sake of our children.” When contacted, school principal Mary Flower, did not wish to comment on the matter. Following the school’s letter to parents seeking donations, many aggrieved parents had complained to the state education department and the Child Rights Commission (CRC).

The education inspector initially called the principal of the school to ask about the matter. Later, on February 5, South zone education inspector BB Chavan sent a letter to the school principal and the Society of Our Lady of Glory (that runs the school). The letter states that school authorities had claimed that large sums of money had been collected by the trust from students. According to Right to Education Act 2009, collecting ‘donations’ is illegal. The education department subsequently asked the school to return the money to students or face action.

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