The District Education Officer of Surat on Wednesday issued a notice to Gyan Ganga School in Bhatar here stating that it faced the prospect of losing its recognition as it had failed to comply with the norms of the primary education board. A commercial building in which a unit of the school had been running caught fire on Tuesday evening and students had to be evacuated.
The school has been given seven days to respond.
If the recognition is cancelled, over 150 students will be shifted to neighbouring schools, so that their education does not suffer, Surat DEO H H Rajyaguru said. “We have spoken to five schools in the same area and we will divide the 150 students equally and get them admitted in those schools,” he said.
Violations aplenty, school education board gets strict
In the past few days, the Surat DEO carried out a survey of 250 schools in Udhna, Limbayat and Dindoli areas of the city and issued notices to 24 schools running in residential buildings and shopping complexes without fire safety equipment, proper class rooms or emergency exits. Given seven days to respond, the DEO will recommend cancelling their recognition, if the responses are unsatisfactory. The DEO also rejected 100 applications seeking to start primary schools after inspectors found that not a single applicant had followed the guidelines of the state education board.
The fire had been caused by a short circuit to a screen printing unit on the ground floor of Balkrishna complex at Bhatar, where a Gyan Ganga Hindi school was functioning on the first floor. All 150 students were evacuated, preventing casualties.
Fire officials then sealed the school as it did not have fire safety equipment or an emergency exit, and the building did not possess a no-objection certificate from the fire department.
DEO Rajyaguru then formed a committee of three education inspectors to investigate the school. They submitted their report on Thursday, based on which the notice was issued to the school’s trustees asking why its recognition should not be cancelled.
The school had failed to comply with not only fire safety norms but also those of the education board. The school did not have a playground, its rooms were not large enough, it did not have enough toilets, and the class rooms had been divided using wooden partitions.
“The Gyan Ganga School in Bhatar imparts education in Hindi medium and it had got recognition from the Gujarat Primary Education board in 2002. How can a school be run in a shopping complex?” wondered Rajyaguru, speaking to The Indian Express. “Our team checked the details of the school and also spoke to trustee Poonum Singh, but failed to get satisfactory answers. Keeping in mind the safety of the students, we have issued a notice to the trustee. The notice period is seven days and if we don’t get a reply, we will write to the director of the primary education board to cancel its recognition.
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