THE DELHI government has issued a showcause notice to the management of the Mirambika Free Progress School for shutting down classes without permission, in violation of the Delhi School Education Rules, 1973.
The school management, which has been in the news since June, 2015, over its decision to start an engineering college in the building where the school was running, shut down Class IX and asked many students to take admission in The Mothers’ International School which is run by the same management. An inspection team of the Education Department visited the school earlier this month to ascertain if allegations were true. The notice is based on complaints from parents and the findings during the visit.
“As regards the allegation that the school is not making efforts to increase students’ enrollment and is heading for closure, the inspection team has observed that the grievances have substance. This is evident from student enrollment in the last three years,” the notice said.
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According to officials, 170 students were enrolled in the school in 2014-15. The number dropped to 162 in 2015-16 (the year the problem started), and to 119 in 2016-17.
The Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, state that a school has to take permission from the government before shutting down even a class. “No managing committee shall close down a recognised school… or an existing class in such a school without giving full justification and without prior approval of the director (of education), who shall, before giving such an approval, consult the Advisory Board,” Rule 46 states.
The notice comes after the government withdrew an old affidavit submitted in the High Court, which said the school’s decision to vacate the original building was correct. Chairperson of the management committee, Pranjal Jauhar, could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.
The campus tussle started in 2015 when the school management shifted students to a hostel in the Aurobindo Ashram, saying the old building would be used to construct a college as the allotment letter from the DDA had earmarked it for that purpose.
The Delhi government has now said the DDA knew the land would be used to build a school and did not object to it. It also said some of its officials colluded with the school management to submit an affidavit favouring the management.