Director of Kharghar school that allegedly barred students from SSC exam denies all allegations; dad says cover-up is taking place
Harmony School at Sector 36, Kharghar in Navi Mumbai on February 16. File pic/Satej Shinde
Four days following the deputy director of school education's directive to reinvestigate allegations of students losing four academic years due to the withholding of documents, the management of Harmony School in Kharghar has issued a statement refuting these claims. The school’s director asserted that the parent never approached them regarding this matter and suggested that he was making these allegations with malicious intentions.
As per the father, Kiran Kadam, in 2018-19 he sought some time from the school management to make the payments in instalments. But before the SSC board exams, both his daughters were restricted from entering the school. He said the school did not give in to his requests and appeals and his elder daughter missed the exam.
He said the school did not even issue a leaving certificate so she couldn’t register privately to appear for the exam.
Following numerous complaints, the deputy director of school education on September 8 issued an order to the education officer (secondary), Raigad, instructing her to conduct a re-investigation in the case.tion was made to the school for the leaving certificate. The certificate is not mandatory at all as per a resolution of the state government. As per the RTE Act, it is the duty of the parent to facilitate the basic education to their children and [he]r the school leaving certificate on March 8, 2023, and the document was issued to him on March 17. The parent had also expressed gratitude towards the school in his letter for the co-operation in issuing the document.”
She added, “The parent has not paid the school fees even for the year 2017. The school had never restricted the students from attending the school even after this. The school has allowed all the 103 students to appear for the board exam in the year 2019-20 without considering the pending fees.”
‘No help was sought’
She alleged that the parents never approached the school for financial help and did not bother to visit the school to find a solution to continue the studies of their children. “The school has been helping many financially weaker students for many years to complete their education without charging any fees,” the email read.
Thampi also refuted Kadam's allegation that his daughters were not allowed entry into the school. She stated, “There is no restriction in the entry and exit of anyone to the school. The school had not restricted even the entry of these students.
While Kadam in all his complaints mentioned that his daughters were in Std X and V in the academic year 2018-19, the school has said it is not true. “They were studying in Std IX and III in 2018-19,” added Thampi.
As per the leaving certificate issued by the school [in March 2023], the elder girl was in Class X in 2019 (when she left the school) while the younger one was passed and promoted to Class IV (as of May 2018).
Kadam told mid-day that the school is now trying to cover up the matter. “They say I never approached them. They had disallowed us entry, saying we would not be allowed in until we paid the fees. Only when we filed complaints with the commission and department they issued us my daughters’ leaving certificates. Why was my elder daughter denied a hall ticket? Can the school give this in writing to the education department and me?”
Jyotsana Shinde-Pawar, education officer (secondary) zilla parishad, Raigad, said, “We called the school and the parents and the matter has been resolved. The parent doesn’t have any more complaints. The leaving certificates of the girls were issued and the child rights commission and deputy director of school education have been informed of this.”
Kadam, however, said, he has not taken his complaint back. “My younger daughter could appear for the Class VIII exams from another school only because the leaving certificate was issued in March 2023. She is now in Class IX. Had they not issued the certificate in March, my daughter would have lost another year. Now my elder daughter will appear for the SSC exam in March 2024. After this loss, why would I withdraw my complaint,” he asked.
Meanwhile, despite repeated calls and messages, Deputy Director of School Education Sandeep Sangave did not respond.
The case so far
Jan 31, 2023: Kadam wrote a detailed complaint letter to the education officer (secondary), Raigad and Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) seeking its intervention.
Feb 9: MSCPCR wrote to the education officer stating that both girls missed four academic years. The commission directed the education officer to initiate a probe. A clarification was sought about the case and the same letter was sent to the school management.
July 17: The education officer wrote to the principal seeking clarification in the matter within four days’ time or lose recognition.
Aug 4: The MSCPCR wrote to the education officer once again, reminding her to investigate the matter and submit a report to the commission.
Aug 13: Kadam, with the help of education activist Nitin Dalvi, wrote to the department of school education and sports seeking its intervention.
Aug 29: Upper Secretary Kisanrao Palande from the department wrote to the state education commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit a report to the department.
Sept 8: Deputy Director of School Education Sandeep Sangave ordered the education officer to re-investigate the matter.