Taking cognizance of the unrecognised schools functioning in Chandigarh, the UT education department has taken a decision to shut down these schools over the next few months. Instructions have been issued by UT advisor Vijay Kumar Dev to the education department to shut these schools and transfer the students there to government schools in the vicinity.
According to officials, about 90 unrecognised schools have been identified by a committee that was formed by the UT education department. However, over 15,000 students are currently studying in these unrecognised schools, and officials are now preparing a plan for the transfer of these students before shutting the schools.
A committee led by Director School Education Rubinderjit Singh Brar and Deputy Director Vocational Education Saroj Mittal is now working on preparing a feasible plan for the transition of students studying in these schools. “There are multiple approaches that are being considered for now. The students will be shifted to government schools in phases and there have been suggestions to run double-shifts at schools. If that is the case, we have to also look into appointing more teachers at the government schools.”
The Education Department is also considering providing recognition to illegal schools that have been imparting quality education and are functioning under the regulations of the Right to Education Act.
Parents of students studying in these schools would also get public notices, informing them of the planned transition of their wards, officials from the Education Department added.
Unrecognised or illegal schools are private unaided schools that function without a government license and do not take any financial or material aid from the government. The schools rely on private beneficiaries and donor organisations for their functioning. According to the Right to Education Act, schools cannot function without obtaining a certificate of recognition and those that continue functioning despite being denied recognition are liable to a fine of Rs 1 lakh or more.
For the 90-odd unrecognised schools that have been functioning in Chandigarh over the past 15 years, a lot of uncertainty lies ahead. The heads of these schools say the education department should not shut down their schools.
“We have been running our school for the past 12 years, and more often than not, unrecognised schools like ours provide education to students from Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) for minimal tuition fees. The education department’s decision to shut down our schools is going to cause a lot of problems for the students and teachers of the schools. Where will the teachers go for jobs? How will students adjust to being forced to move to newer schools with higher fee structures? As long as we are providing quality education, the department should support us instead of shutting our schools down,” head of an unrecognised school in Manimajra told the Chandigarh Newsline.