Spare BEO's rod, urge schools

Managements fighting for curtailment of officials authority

Spare BEO's rod, urge schools

 
As the last date for filing objections to the draft rules of the said legislation ended on September 30, a quick glance at the points of disagreement raised by private unaided schools indicates that they want to curtail the authority of the BEOs.

As a result, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which has received the said objections, is contemplating setting up a new committee to oversee the affairs of private schools. The SSA has received 1,000 suggestions/objections to the draft rules via e-mail and got 300 by post.

While many schools are firm in criticising the various key provisions of the legislation, they also appear to challenge the role given to the BEOs.

“Schools’ opposition to reservation of 25 per cent seats for poor students, the 'No Screening' procedure, etc has remained intact as most objections indicate. They, however, are also against empowering the BEOs to oversee their various affairs," an officer, requesting anonymity, told Deccan Herald.

A BEO heads an Educational Block set up at taluk level and is supposed to supervise the affairs of all government and private schools in his/her jurisdiction. There are 202 Educational Blocks in the State with each of them being divided into several clusters consisting of eight schools each. 

Currently, BEOs do not exercise much authority over unaided schools. They, however, do monitor the affairs of government and aided schools.

With the draft rules of the RTE Act giving more teeth to BEOs and making them responsible for implementing its provisions, private schools have another reason to feel disgruntled.

Traditionally, unaided schools are not dictated by BEOs in matters of fixing the time table, the fee structure, monitoring the admission process among other things. But after RTE, the State Government proposed to change this by empowering the BEOs to oversee the matters of unaided schools as well.

As per the draft rules of the RTE Act, a BEO will be part of the 'local authority' responsible for implementing the legislation.

Accordingly, a BEO will be tasked to notify the jurisdiction of a neighbourhood school, undertake school mapping before June every year, identify all eligible children, issue a 'Calendar of Events' to be followed by all schools, act against schools who indulge in fake/double admissions, report of, and take action for, any violation of the legislation by schools, etc.

Although objections will be compiled only next week and analysed by October-end before they are sent to the State Government for consideration, BEOs may be replaced by a committee.

The final call, however, will be taken only after all objections are studied, the officer added. "On the face of it, unaided schools appear against BEOs. But we'll decide only after studying the objections," the officer asserted.

Mid-day meal

Among other objections, schools have opposed providing mid-day meals to children admitted under the 25 per cent reservation fearing it may alienate them from other students.

Instead, schools suggest that parents be given the equivalent money so that they can arrange for children’s meals. But, given the paltry sum spent per child under the scheme, providing money instead of meal didn’t appear to be viable, the officer said.

Summary

*The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has received 1,300 suggestions/objections on draft rules of RTE Act - 1,000 via e-mail and 300 by post.

*Unaided schools say BEOs shouldn’t fix their fee structure, calendar of events, etc.

*Instead, a committee may be set up replacing BEOs.

*No. of educational blocks in Karnataka: 202.

*No. of clusters: 2,300.

*Each cluster consists of eight schools.

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