September 18, 2014 12:46:46 am
Following a complaint from an NGO, the state school education department has issued notices to five elite schools in south Mumbai for appointing and allowing principals and teachers to continue to hold their posts in violation of the retirement age regulations.
A complaint filed by NGO Buland Chhawa has alleged that the principals and teachers of the five south Mumbai schools continue to hold their posts despite having crossed the stipulated retirement age of 58 years.
The complaint states that the five schools – Cathedral and John Conon at Fort, Activity High at Peddar Road, Bombay Scottish at Mahim, St Mary’s ICSE at Mazgaon and Diamond Jubilee school at Mazgaon – have flouted the norms of the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (MEPS)(Conditions of Service) Regulation Act,1977, which is applicable to all private schools.
Nana Kute Patil of Buland Chhawa, who filed the complaint, said, “Many non-state board schools are in the practice of appointing retired people as principals. I had filed an RTI query on the same with 39 private non-state board schools. The education department sent the first notice to them on January 14. However, no action was taken against the school thereafter. Now, they have sent a fresh notice to them on August 4.”
As per the details provided by the education department to an RTI query, the current age of Meera Isaac, principal of Cathedral and John Connon school, is 67. Perin Bagli, principal of Activity High School, is 65 years old while and Shobha Dove, principal of Diamond Jubilee High School, is 59. “The principal of Bombay Scottish has retired now, so the notice is no more applicable to them. However, we are still verifying the details of three teachers of Bombay Scottish who have crossed the retirement age,” said B B Chavan, education inspector of south zone.
The schools says the MEPS Act is only applicable to the state board schools, and not to them “We are an unaided private minority school affiliated to ICSE board and hence MEPS Act is not applicable to us. This seems to be a case of vested interests. In fact, there are many schools across the city which have principals over 58 years of age,” said the principal of one of the five schools on the condition of anonymity.
Bagli said, “We have already approached the school education minister and senior officials. The MEPS is a very old Act and and its rules are outdated. It cannot be applied to unaided private minority schools. There are several High Court and Supreme Court orders that say that the state government cannot interfere in the functioning of private schools which do not get any aid or assistance from the government.”
However, Chavan maintained that all the schools in Maharashtra were supposed to follow the rules under the MEPS Act.
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