A parent had highlighted the violation by ISKCON-managed school; six years later, city education dept tells state to withdraw school’s NOC for ICSE affiliation
Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School, Andheri West. Pic/Anurag Ahire
A school in Andheri, managed by ISKCON Juhu, has been accused of forcing parents to buy uniforms from a select dealer/vendor for years, violating a government resolution. With the management refusing to mend its way despite repeated complaints, the Mumbai school education deputy director has requested the state government to withdraw its no-objection certificate (NOC) for affiliation. Schools of non-state boards need the state government’s NOC for affiliation. Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School in Andheri West has ICSE affiliation, which it could lose if the state withdraws the NOC.
Proposal to govt
“The proposal to withdraw the NOC has been submitted to the principal secretary of school education and sports. The recommendation is based on the report by the education inspector, west zone, Mumbai. We are awaiting the reply from the principal secretary, following which the decision to cancel the NOC given to Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School (ICSE) will be taken,” said Sandeep Sangave, deputy director of school education (Mumbai).
Sangave’s letter to the principal secretary (school education) reads: “One of the parents, Suhas C Zhambare, had complained about this. Accordingly, the education inspector of West Zone was directed to conduct an inquiry and submit a report. Accordingly, an inquiry was conducted... It was found that Bhaktivedanta Swami Mission School, Andheri, had been forcing students to buy uniforms and other educational materials from the recommended shops/vendors. As per norms laid down via government resolution (GR) dated June 11, 2004, this is a violation.”
Sangave also wrote to the secretary of the ICSE board, “but did not receive any response”. “Following which, a second inquiry was carried out based on the GR of June 11, 2004, and the same violations were found. The report of the education inspector has proposed cancellation of the NOC of the said school. And that is what we have recommended,” he added.
Parents and the complainant, however, alleged that the delay in action is thanks to the education department. “I had first filed a complaint in 2017, but no action was taken. The school also lacked RTE recognition from the BMC from 2017 to 2022. However, they still got an NOC from the BMC, as the education inspector (west zone) sent a recommendation to the BMC, stating that there is no complaint against the school. On the uniform issue, they have only sent a proposal to the state government, that too almost six years after my first complaint,” said Zhambare.
The school also forced underprivileged students admitted under the RTE quota to buy uniforms, Zhambare alleged. Nitin Dalvi, educational activist and representative of the Maharashtra State Student-Parent Teacher Federation, said, “The priority here is to investigate the role of the education inspector and all those who aided the school for so many years. This has encouraged the school to continue the exploitation in violation of the GR.”
Principal Armaity Engineer and Vice-Principal Simple Tahiliani said they are unaware of any recommendation by the deputy director of school education to cancel the NOC. The complainant’s child is a former student who passed Std X last year, Engineer added.
Year a parent filed a complaint