The over-enthusiasm shown by the Independent Schools Association (ISA) to preach the government schools on the uplift of education standards has backfired. For,turning its application on its head,the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday directed the association to show what steps it had taken to ameliorate the standards in private schools.
In its application,in a pending public interest litigation (PIL),the ISA in December last had requested the High Court that it be impleaded so that it could assist the court in educating the administration in the uplift of government schools.
Questioning the interest of the private schools in the said PIL,the High Court came down heavily on the private schools for fleecing students and their parents. In unambiguous terms,the High Court directed that teachers employed by the private schools,covered by the ISA,would be paid through account-payee cheques. This was ordered to ensure that teachers were not underpaid.
In a detailed judgment,the High Court has demanded a lot of details from the private schools. The association has been asked to furnish details of the salaries being paid by it to its teachers in comparison to salaries paid to teachers in government schools. The association will submit details of the fees charged by it in the private schools as compared to fees charged by government schools.
Also,the association will tell the court the number of teachers it has dismissed in the last five years and the reasons given for their dismissal. The qualification of teachers hired by the private schools will also be submitted before the High Court. A comparison with the qualification of government school teachers will also be placed on record.
Significantly,the association will also produce the details of charges,being asked for under various heads,from students. The association has been given two months time to give the entire information.
The development took place during the resumed hearing of a PIL requesting the High Court to direct the administration to improve the functioning of government schools. The PIL had alleged that the standard of government schools was on the decline as a result of which more and more students were opting for private schools.
Opposing the petition,Sanjay Kaushal,senior standing counsel for the Chandigarh Administration,had produced the entire details of government schools submitting that nothing was amiss. Steps taken to ameliorate the condition of schools were also placed on record.
Questioning the claims made by the administration,the ISA had requested the High Court in December last to allow it to be a party in the petition. The request was allowed. When the case came up for hearing on January 31,2012,time was sought to file a detailed reply to belie the claims of the administration.
When the PIL came up for resumed hearing on Friday,counsel for the association sought more time to file its response. Questioning its motives,the High Court cornered the association.