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Mumbai: Schools flouting RTE norms come under govt scanner

Updated on: 07 August,2023 07:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh |

Following complaints that there is a delay in action against schools operating without RTE approvals, education commissioner told to investigate

Mumbai: Schools flouting RTE norms come under govt scanner

Several schools in the city have been operating without RTE clearance. Representational pic

The school education department has directed the state education commissioner to conduct a thorough investigation on complaints from an education activist concerning the lack of action taken against 218 schools operating without recognition under the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The schools have been operating without recognition for several years. 

They continued to operate despite failing to get their recognition extended, the response to an RTI query revealed.

The letter by the school education department dated July 27 reads: “Following a complaint by Nitin Dalvi against the Director of Education Sharad Gosavi and the delay in action against schools operating without RTE approvals, kindly conduct an in-depth investigation in the matter at the earliest.”

The list of defaulters includes some of the most prominent schools in the city. Representation picThe list of defaulters includes some of the most prominent schools in the city. Representation pic

Interestingly, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) had also written to the director of education (primary) on July 26 seeking details of action taken against schools operating without RTE approvals and officials who have failed to act against these schools for so many years. This was after the BMC failed to give a response in this regard.

The NGO Maharashtra Rajya Vidyarthi, Palak, Shikshak Mahasangh (Maharashtra State Student-Parent Teacher Federation), through RTI in January, had sought ward-wise information regarding schools operating without RTE approval. The BMC’s reply revealed that 218 private unaided primary schools across the city have failed to get their RTE recognition/approval renewed. The story was reported by mid-day in its March 16 edition.

Some of the prominent schools in the list include Anandilal Podar High School (Santacruz), Raja Shivaji primary school (Dadar), St Michael’s High School (Mahim), St Andrew’s High School (primary section, Bandra), St Aloysius primary school (Santacruz), The Alexander Girls High School (Fort) Gloria Convent (Byculla) St Pius X High School (Nahur), Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Vidyalaya (Borivli), Rustomjee Troopers (Dahisar) and VPM’s Vidya Mandir primary school (Dahisar).

Under the RTE Act, 25 per cent of the total seats are reserved for the socio-economically weaker sections of society. The schools are expected to provide free education to these children and claim reimbursement from the Central as well as state government. Also, the Act requires all schools to adhere to 10 infrastructure standards, such as a compound wall, toilets, drinking water, playgrounds, etc. Every three years, the schools must submit an application for an extension/renewal of recognition or accreditation. Following the introduction of the RTE Act, a school’s recognition is only renewed if they have met these 10 standards. 

Failing to get the renewal, schools could be fined R10,000 per day until they meet the norms, and for running the school in the absence of recognition, the management of these schools will also have to pay a penalty of R1 lakh. The BMC is the statutory body issuing the recognition certificate for primary schools.

In addition, under the RTE Act, 2009, no school can operate without a certificate of recognition from the government authority.

Nitin Dalvi, a Maharashtra State Student-Parent Teacher Federation representative and educational activist, said, “We received an RTI reply revealing 218 schools in the city are operating without requisite RTE recognition. Since then we have been writing to all education departments including the BMC education department and deputy director of school education. However, there has been no response, hinting that there has been no action against these schools.”

According to Dalvi, to obtain or renew the RTE recognition, it is mandatory for the school administration to submit the financial balance sheet to the government every year. “After submitting the balance sheet to the government and the parents, the school’s financial irregularities such as illegal fees, donations, building rent, financial scandals will come to light and the school administration will be in trouble. This is why these schools have been evading the renewal process and I have said this multiple times to the authorities. Is the education department doing this on purpose?” he questioned.

Another Maharashtra State Student-Parent Teacher Federation representative, Prasad Tulaskar, said that recently there have been several allegations of corruption in the education department and there has been inquiry against officials at various levels, including the Anti-Corruption Bureau. “This has led to financial loss to the state government, as the state education department and BMC education department have not even levied fines on these schools for violation of the RTE Act by not renewing the approval. This is a very sorry state and we demand action,” he said.

Deputy Education Officer of BMC Raju Tadvi was not available for comment. 

No. of schools operating without RTE approval

July 27
Day education commissioner was asked to investigate

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