PUNE: The very purpose of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 was defeated after a bunch of students who took admission under RTE were allegedly harassed by the management of the National English School located in Old Sangvi.
According to the parents, their children were made to sit separately in the class and they were excluded from school sports and cultural activities. Their results are being held and on top of it they were charged Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,000 as activity fee.
“Although our children fall under RTE, the school has charged us Rs 6,000 as activity fees when my son was admitted in Std I last year. This year they demanded Rs 12,000. When we refused to give so much money to the school, they started ill-treating our children,” said a parent whose son is studying in Std II at the school, on condition of anonymity.
“On January 26, a cultural programme was held. When they noticed that some of the participants were RTE students, they replaced them with non-RTE students,” he added.
The parents said the school faculty often neglects RTE students’ academic progress and no parent-teacher meeting is held. They alleged that the school retorted to corporal punishment of RTE students.
One of the parents, speaking on condition of anonymity, recalled an incident. “Our children were beaten up unnecessarily at the school because they fall under RTE category. Once I complained to the school authorities about the corporal punishment given to RTE students. Instead of rectifying their mistake, they kept on picking on my son and would often call me to school and point out silly mistakes done by him.”
However, Founder and Chairman of the school, Lobo Dominic, denied the allegations. He said the school has 300 students, but is on the verge of shutting down because of non-availability of funds from the State government.
“These allegations are not true. The school has been supporting RTE students for five years though we have not received a penny from the State government as compensation for RTE activity. I am facing a loss of Rs 25 lakh and am unable to support RTE anymore. Therefore, we have decided to shut down the school. No notice has been issued to parents at present. Formal notice will be given after results are out. The State government officials concerned have been informed about it,” said Dominic.
The parents visited the Director of Primary Education, Sunil Chauhan Gosavi and Education Officer of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), BS Awari. “For the first time we have received a complaint where a school is practising unlawful activities. We will be visiting the school to investigate the matter. Due to less manpower it is not always possible to survey every school and evaluate whether they facilitate RTE students rightly or not. But whenever a complaint is lodged, we undertake action,” said Awari.
He said a school cannot shut down suddenly, as it will affect all the students. “How can a school decide to shut citing the reason of no funds from the State government. Only 25 per cent of seats are alloted for RTE admissions. What about the rest 75 per cent students? So many children cannot be absorbed in any other school in such a short time. The management should have weighed the pros and cons before starting a school,” said Awari.
The parents visited the Director of Primary Education, Sunil Chauhan Gosavi and Education Officer of Pimpri-Chinchwad, BS Awari.