A day after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) withdrew its affiliation to Delhi Public School, East Ahmedabad, over leasing out land to self-styled guru Nithyananda, concerned parents who gathered at the school on Monday received another shock with the Gujarat Education Department cancelling its permission for Class I to VIII in the school.
Agitated parents said they will gather at Uttamnagar garden in Maninagar on Tuesday morning from where they will head to DEO (District Education Officer) rural Ahmedabad office to stage a protest. They also said that they would file a PIL against the authorities for cancellation of affiliation and permission.
School principal Hitesh Puri assured parents during four rounds of meetings and discussions that went on till evening that Classes IX to XII will resume from Tuesday. However, the department decision to cancel permission to run classes I to VIII came in as a fresh blow.
The state government also directed the school management to submit details of advanced fee collected from students of Class I till XII, by December 4, failing which the department would order the school to return the fees. The principal who had initially agreed to give all the assurances, including shifting the students of Classes IX and XI to DPS Bopal, declined to do so by the evening.
During the closed-door meetings with a few representatives of parents, as well as in his address to the parents, Puri admitted that the school does not have a no-objection certificate (NoC) and that the NA permission was granted in June this year. Puri also said about his limitations in seeking legal advice to the CBSE order of de-affiliation issued on Sunday.
In the evening, the parents returned with oral assurances offered by the school principal seeking three days time to decide on future course of action.
The CBSE withdrew its affiliation on Sunday, citing that the school managed to get it by submitting a forged document. It also cited the school’s contradictory statements on leasing out land to Nithyananda ashram that recently ran into controversy over “illegal confinement” of women on its premises.
In its order issued December 2 cancelling permission to run Classes I till VIII, the District Primary Education Officer (DPEO) stated that the school failed to provide information sought within required timeline and submit the Building Usage Permit (BUP). “Thus the permission given for Class I till VIII as per the approval issued on March 21,2012 has been cancelled,” the order stated.
“While obtaining the permission to run Class I till VIII, the school failed to abide by the rules. Also, despite time and chances to represent their case, they have failed to do so,” said Vinod Rao, Secretary Education.
The order goes on to mention that the DPEO sought information on 25 points and had been visiting the school repeatedly but the management failed to provide them. “The information sought through e-mail has not been received till December 2, by 9.48 am and thus the school management has not co-operated at all. The inspection committee on November 25 had inspected and concluded that the school is functioning against government rules,” the order said.
Offering not much assurance and hope, Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said that the education department will help DPS students within its limitations. In a statement, he said, “The education department had taken necessary action against the DPS East Ahmedabad. While legal action has already been initiated against the accused in the case, the education department communicated to the CBSE officials and requested them to depute their officials to Ahmedabad to facilitate and resolve the issue of shifting of students to nearby schools at the earliest.” A few parents had met the minister in the afternoon.
Amid the developments, students are at the receiving end. “It was their first pre-board exam today (Monday) and we were informed by the school in the morning, just a while before they were to leave for school, that the school is closed due to administrative reasons,” said Hemant Chaddha, a parent of two girls studying in Class X and Class II. “What is the fault of our children. Apart from their studies being affected, this is affecting them psychologically, too. My son came home complaining that other children are taunting him about his school being closed down,” said Krishna Priya, mother of two boys studying in Class VII and II.
Hiral Mehta, whose children are studying in Class VII and XI, said that there has been no clarity from the school. “What is the fault of our children? The CBSE in its de-affiliation order has stated that the students of Class IX and XI can be shifted to nearby schools but how will other schools take our children when DPS East Ahmedabad’s own branch in Bopal is not ready to take our children?” she asked.
“Parents who approached nearby schools in Maninagar area said they declined admission on hearing DPS East name or are demanding huge donations,” said Vikas Sood, a parent.
Dr Amit Singh, father of Class VI student of DPS East Ahmedabad, who had admitted his son to the school this academic session only after he got transferred from Chandigarh, regrets his decision. “We came here only due to the brand name of DPS. Now we realise it was our biggest mistake. Now we have to shift to other location in the city where my son can get admission as nearby schools are not taking DPS East students.”
Ashram told to vacate
During his address to the parents Monday in the school campus, school principal Hitesh Puri had expressed regret that they had to face all this trouble. Justifying the move to lease out land to the ashram, Puri said, “Nithynanada said that he does not believe in any guru but believes in good karma. And our chairman thought it is some good work from a social point of view. Let me tell you that our school has been running for all these years and never had any wrong thing happened here. So, when they approached us saying if we will teach their kids also, I took them. For me, all children are equal… my religion is teaching… I said that these children will be taught separately so that my children are not distrurbed.”
“But I took this decision to handed them termination on November 19. I personally asked them to leave immediately as I do not want parents to be affected by their presence. I am sorry that you have to face so much trouble due to this. As an educator I assure you that students studies will not be affected,” he said.
A statement issued by Unmesh Dixit, OSD of Delhi Public School, East Ahmedabad, said, “A purported document of No Objection Certificate (NOC) of July 2010 has been held against the school and was the subject matter of a Show Cause Notice (SCN) issued by CBSE. The fact is that CBSE had itself on October 20, 2010, rejected the affiliation request of the school, one of the ground of rejection being non-submission of NOC. The incongruity of the CBSE’s position is evident. The school promptly responded within the stipulated time, denying the assertions made by the CBSE, and also highlighted the above position.”
Accusing the CBSE of not hearing the school, the statement said, “The school… requested for an opportunity of personal hearing. The CBSE, without affording any opportunity of hearing, inconsistent with the elementary principles of natural justice, revoked the school’s affiliation in undue haste… within a period of just about 7 days from issuance of the SCN.”
“The school stands by the students and the parents, and will continue to co-operate with all statutory authorities in all investigations,” it added.