Students’ organisation ‘Prahar’, founded by Minister of State for Education Bacchu Kadu, on Friday criticised Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad for allegedly supporting school managements and “ignoring” students’ issues.
The organisation criticised Gaikwad’s decision to stay an inquiry against Nashik-based St Francis High School and Panvel-based St Joseph High School over complaints of overcharging of fees by parents. Kadu had instituted an inquiry against four schools, including St Joseph High School. While an official circular issued in September for an inquiry into the matter did not include St Francis High School, Prahar claimed it was a part of the list.
“MoS Bachhu Kadu is giving justice to students and parents. But I can’t understand why does the state Education Minister is supporting school managements and ignore students’ core issues,” the students’ organisation president Manoj Tekade told The Indian Express.
On September 16, based on Kadu’s orders, Deputy Director of Education (Mumbai) Anil Sabale formed two committees to conduct an inquiry against four schools — Panvel-based St Joseph High School, Thane-based Euro International School, Ghatkopar-based Universal School and Grant Road-based Bright Star Fellowship International School.
When contacted, Gaikwad said the notice had been misunderstood. “I was approached by schools who wanted to present their side of the matter. In view of being non-partisan, I have allowed a hearing with the two schools, for which the inquiry has been stayed for now. There is no relation between Bacchu Kadu’s orders and this notice.”
“State School Education department has been fighting a case in the Bombay High Court in support of parents and students. We understand that the pandemic has affected incomes and certain facilities of the school are not being used by the students, for which the fees should be reduced. Since the matter is sub judice, it wouldn’t be right to comment further,” Gaikwad said.
The committee formed by Kadu can continue to do its work if a favourable decision is taken by the high court, Gaikwad said. Kadu remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts.
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