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Gajera School in Surat: DEO orders inquiry after video of ‘offline sessions for Class 8’ emerges

The state government, through a notification, has permitted only classes 9 to 12 with 50 per cent capacity in view of the Covid pandemic.

By: Express News Service | Surat |
August 5, 2021 12:44:38 am
The Gajera School, run by Shantaben Haribhai Gajera Charitable Trust, was ordered to be closed for two days. ?(Express Photo)

Surat municipal officials on Wednesday issued notices to Gajera School in Katargam area after a video purportedly showing its Class 8 students attending offline classes was shared on social media, while the district education officer (DEO) ordered an inquiry into the incident.

The state government, through a notification, has permitted only classes 9 to 12 with 50 per cent capacity in view of the Covid pandemic.

Meanwhile, Suman School No. 5, run by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) in Udhna area, was closed on Wednesday after a a Class 10 student tested positive for Covid.

The Gajera School, run by Shantaben Haribhai Gajera Charitable Trust, was ordered to be closed for two days. It belongs to diamond and real estate developers — Vasant Gajera and Chinu Gajera, brothers of former BJP MLA Dhiru Gajera, who was recently re-inducted into the BJP.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of an event in Vadodara, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani referred to the school running classes for Classes 6 to 8 and said, “Officials there (in Surat) will take necessary action. The state government will not tolerate violation of the notification.”

When asked about a student testing positive in Suman School, Rupani said, “Corona cases have gone down in Gujarat in the past couple of months. So we have started easing the restrictions. If cases go up again, then there is no other alternative except (imposing) restrictions.”

After a video of offline sessions in Gajera School went viral on social media, a team from Katargam police station along with Surat municipal health officials and dstrict education office teams reached the school. The school authorities immediately asked the students to leave the premises.

Dr Kanu Shroff, Surat municipal health officer of Katargam zone, said, “After primary investigations, we have ordered the school to be closed for two days. We have also issued notices to the school, seeking an explanation.”

Surat District Education Officer HH Rajyaguru said, “We sent our teams to the spot that will take statements from teachers, trustees and students before filing a report. On the basis of the report, we will issue notice to the school and take further action.”

A student of Class 8 said on condition of anonymity, “We have been coming to the school for three days now for offline classes after submitting a consent letter signed by our parents to the school authorities. Majority of the students in my class are from the nearby areas and we have been called for offline classes.”

Principal of the school, Bhavesh Ghelani, said, “We have called 50 students to clear their doubts and also submit their assignments. We were calling them in different groups and not forcing the students to come. They were here with the consent of their parents.”

Inspector of Katargam police station, BD Gohil, said, “The school authorities intimated us about media persons and others entering their premises, so we came here. We got to know that the school started offline classes for Class 8 students. We are investigating. There are over 2,000 students studying in the school in Gujarati and English mediums.”

Dhirubhai Gajera, BJP leader and brother of Vasant Gajera, school trustee of Gajera School, said, “The students were called in different groups for some work. I don’t have more details.”

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