WHILE THE police are pursuing owners and administrators of five private schools in the city for allegedly enrolling students without due approvals, parents are unwilling to shift their wards to alternate schools, Rajkot district administration said on Thursday.
“We have held meetings with parents of 2274 students who are studying in five schools which, priam facie, do not have affiliation to Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and are being probed therefore. On the other hand, there are 14 schools which have due affiliations to the CBSE and they have capacity to absorb all these students. But parents are unwilling to enroll their children to these alternative schools. Only 31 of the affected students have sought admission to alternative schools,” in-charge collector of Rajkot district, Banchhanidhi Pani told media persons at a press conference.
After some parents complaint last week, city police had booked owners and administrators of four schools for criminal breach of trust, cheating and forgery. These schools are KG Dholakiya School, Modi School, Saint Mary’s School and Golden Apple English Medium School. Owners, trustees and principals of Dholakiya, Modi and Sanint Mary’s schools were arrested by police last week but were granted bail within hours.
After the matter came to light, the district collector had held meeting with owners of the 14 schools in the city and district which are affiliated to CBSE. The owners had expressed their readiness to absorb students who are likely to be affected by the alleged fraud. Pursuing the issue further, the collector and other top officers held meetings with parents of these students also.
“But parents said they did not want to enroll their children in alternative schools. Only 31 out of 574 students of Dholakiya School have sought admission in alternative school. The unit of Modi school in Ishwariya village has affiliation to CBSE. But 1614 students, who had enrolled for CBSE courses were not sent there and instead classes were conducted in the group’s other school which is in the city. Now the school has offered to shift these students to the Ishwariya school and parents have agreed to pay transportation,” Ashok Chaudhary, district education officer (DE) of Rajkot said.
However, Chaudhary added that parents of students studying in Golden Apple, Saint Mary’s and Christ School have not sought change of school.
The collector said DEO has limited powers to act against such erring schools. “CBSE has its own procedure of granting affiliation and not even a no-objection-certificate is required from local DEO. But all these schools had been recognised by directorate of primary education of Gujarat state. If these schools are found running courses of other boards, that constitutes an offence and if proven, a school can be fined Rs1 lakh and also lead to derecognition,” added Pani.
The collector said that the DEO had wrote to the directorate of schools to derecognise Dholakiya school. “However, Dholakiya School has moved Gujarat High Court and the court has granted stay on any proceedings against that school till December 18. On other other hand, show-cause notices have been issued to remaining schools and further action will be taken after the notice period ends,” he said.
Deputy commissioner of police (west zone) Karanraj Vaghela said that a police team lead by an inspector was in Ajmer to seek any details of the schools under the scanner from the regional office of the CBSE there. “If need arose, the team will also visit the head office of CBSE for a thorough probe of the case,” he said.
The collector added that his office will also report the matter to the CBSE. “We shall send a report of the issue in Rajkot to the CBSE and demand that local authorities should be kept in loop while granting affiliation to schools,” said Pani.
The DEO said that CBSE affiliation is required for enrolling students from Class VI onward. Christ School, he said had enrolled students for Class I and II only.
Name of school — Classes — Number of students
KG Dholakiya — I to VIII — 574
Modi School — I to XII — 1614
Saint Mary’s — I to VIII — 432
Golden Apple — I to VIII — 100
Christ School — I and II — 126