10 teachers sacked, Mumbai school to shut?
After terminating the services of 10 junior college teachers including the principal, Grant Road-based Robert Money school says it will shut down the course. Teachers, community members term sacking illegal, will take matters to court
A month after the well-known Grant-Road based Robert Money High School and Technical Junior College stirred a hornet’s nest by moving 450 of its own students to a cramped space in a smaller building and leased out part of its property to a third party to build an international school -- the school management has once again flirted with controversy.
In a step that has sent shock waves through the school, the management last week issued termination letters to 10 junior college teachers including the principal of the college.The teachers approached the joint director's office demanding an enquiry. Investigations confirmed their fear -- that the state government had not shut the institute but the Robert Money management was determined to do so.
SUNDAY MiD DAY had reported on April 14, how Robert Money school had ignored its own Marathi medium sections and rented part of their school building to an international school. The city’s fire department had sent a letter to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) alleging that the new construction had violated safety norms. Local activists had also approached the government, alleging that the school had rented out the land illegally.
Robert Money, a famous south Mumbai institution, boasts of a Marathi medium school, an English medium school, a technical high school and junior college and a vocational technical MCVC section.
Speaking to SUNDAY MiD-DAY, Kiran Ghate, one of the sacked junior college teachers, said, “We were shocked to receive the letter of termination sent to our house by the management. While one of the teachers is retiring next year, most of us have at least 10 years of service left. It is very disheartening to know that even the government does not want to help us. We will take a decision on this termination letter once the courts reopen on Monday.”
Avadhut Bhise, principal of the school and junior college, said, “It is very shocking that the management has sent us termination letters where it says the management is voluntarily closing the junior college bifocal course (science with technology) and the Minimum Competency Vocational Course (MCVC) course from May 29. Last year itself, the management had stopped admission of fresh students. But what I don’t understand is why the government is not stepping in? When the government is authorized to give permission to start a school or junior college, why isn’t it that they are not authorised to stop a college from shutting down?”
Cyril Dara, a social activist said, “Our community members support the teachers and we will appeal in the High Court.”
While joint director of the board RR Asawa remained unavailable for comment, Bishop Patole, the chairman, did not respond to a dozen calls from this reporter as well as two text messages sent to him.