Bill to curb malpractices in schools on the cards

Bill to curb malpractices in schools on the cards

Demand for capitation fee, corporal punishment and any insistence on purchase of books, uniform, stationery or other materials from school premises or a particular shop will be a punishable offence with imprisonment for a term extending to three years, according to a draft bill that seeks to curb malpractices in schools.

The legislation, drafted as instructed by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, also seeks to make a punishable offence any offer or payment of capitation fee or donation, by way of consideration either in cash or kind or otherwise, for obtaining admission to any class in any school.

Publication or circulation of false or misleading advertisements will also land schools into trouble as it would attract the provisions of the proposed law.

The bill, which seeks to bring pre-school also under its ambit, prohibits the schools from denying admission or expelling any student on the grounds of any serious diseases, including HIV/Aids.

 It also prohibits the schools from insisting students, directly or indirectly, on private coaching on campuses or outside.

Withholding students from appearing for any examination for which he or she is eligible and desirous of appearing, expelling any student on account of poor academic performance or detain arbitrarily, and kind of sexual harassment to students will also invoke the provisions of the proposed legislation with stipulated punishment and penalty.
The bill prohibits schools from refusing to return or withholding certificates or refund of fee.

“If any person contravenes or attempts to contravene or abets the contravention of the provisions of this Act or of any rules made thereunder, she or he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both,” the bill stipulates.

It, however, does not quantify the amount of penalty to be imposed. Under the bill,  “school education” means the education from pre-school classes through Class I to Class XII.

Under the proposed law, every school is mandatorily required to publish, before expiry of 60 days before the date of the commencement of admission, a notice for the purposes of informing general public and parents intending to seek admission for their wards.

This notice should clearly include general conditions, component of fees, deposits and other charges to be paid by students, the number of seats available in different classes, eligibility criteria, including the minimum and maximum age limit, and details of teachers, including their educational qualifications and experience.

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