In a bid to clamp down on schools accused of forcing parents to shell out more money than the prevalent market rate for school uniforms, books and stationery, the state education department has decide
In a bid to clamp down on schools accused of forcing parents to shell out more money than the prevalent market rate for school uniforms, books and stationery, the state education department has decided to conduct random checks on schools, including state-board and non-state board ones. The announcement was made by the education minister in response to questions raised on the inaction by the government to curb the exploitation of students and parents at the hands of school managements.
During question hour on Thursday, BJP legislator Vijay Girkar and independent legislator Ramnath Mote questioned the government's inaction against the schools that force parents to buy school uniforms, books and stationery, and accused the education ministry of allowing the exploitation to continue in a rampant manner.
“While shelling out more money may not be a burden for students from affluent families, those belonging to poor and economically-backward families find it difficult to bear the extra costs. However, the government is not doing anything about this and allowing the exploitation of such students,” said Mr Girkar, with Mr Mote seconding his words.
In reply to the question, education minister Vinod Tawde initially said that in the absence of proper complaints from parents, it was not possible to initiate action against any school.
However, after Speaker Ramraje Nimbalkar said that no parent would like to jeopardise the future of their child by complaining against the school their ward studied in, Mr Tawde said random checks would be carried out on schools.
"No school will be spared and we will be inspecting random schools and seeking feedback from parents on the issue," Mr Tawde said.
He added that while taking action against state-board schools would not be difficult, the ministry would track complaints against non-state board schools and if they continued to force parents for three years to pay extra money, the ministry would not give them the mandatory No Objection Certificate that is required for them to function.
Mr Tawde further said as the issue was consumer-related, the consumer safety and affairs department should also be involved.
"A joint initiative of the education department and the consumer affairs department will go a long way in safeguarding the interests of the students, as well as save them from being targeted by the managements," Mr Tawde said, adding that criminal action would also be taken against the errant schools.