For the first time using the Right to Education (RTE) Act,the Ahmedabad district primary education officer (DPEO) issued notices to 80 private primary schools for non-compliance of RTE norms. The defaulting schools have been instructed to address the lapses before the new academic session begins in June or face consequences.
In April,an inspection team of three members constituted by the DPEO visited nearly 400 private schools that fall under their jurisdiction. Out of these,20 per cent schools were found to lack basic facilities,as well as non-compliance of RTE norms. The survey was completed on April 30,after which report of each school was compiled,followed by issuance of notices from last week.
Not disclosing the name of private schools to which these notices have been served,DPEO M M Jani said,The check list covered 34 major points which the schools have to comply with. Majority of the schools failed on 6-7 criteria including smaller classroom area than specified under the RTE Act,staff salaries not given through a bank,poor fire safety measures,district information system for education (DISE) forms not filled by schools each year and appointment of teachers not per norms.
Further on the penalties to be imposed on schools if they fail to comply to these norms,Jani said,Since this is the first year,the department have conducted such a survey and issued notices. If the lapse is noticed for three consecutive years,the schools recognition will be withdrawn or the schools could be asked to closed down. However,if the department receives any complaint from parents against a school,for instance the school hiking fee beyond permissible percentage,stringent action will be taken against them.
When asked if such a survey was carried out in government schools as well,the he said the government schools already fulfil these criteria. Also,there was no instruction from the education department to conduct such a survey in government schools, he added.