Non-K'taka schools off govt radar

With managements based out of State, these schools are run by local representatives

Non-K'taka schools off govt radar

Brazen violation of norms by several schools run by education trusts based outside Karnataka has raised questions about the mechanism for monitoring such institutions.

The regulations for establishing a school are the same for institutions having their management in Karnataka and outside the State. The managements are accorded permission if the competent authorities are convinced that they have the necessary infrastructure and funds to run a school. There is no restriction on the number of branches a school can operate.

The day-to-day affairs of these schools are usually in the hands of a few local representatives and apparently, the managements are unaware of their commissions and omissions. Coupled with the lack of stringent monitoring, this “delegation of authority” could only dilute the accountability of the management.

Exempted from RTE

Besides, the trusts functioning from outside Karnataka enjoy the status of linguistic minority institutions and hence are exempted from reserving 25 per cent seats for students from the economically weaker sections, as mandated by the RTE Act. This advantage has come in handy for these schools.

“If a school is providing 25 per cent reservation under the RTE, the department at least looks into their audit report regularly. But, in the case of exempted schools, their sources of income mostly go unnoticed,” says Nagasimha G Rao of Child Rights Trust.

A senior official in Department of Public Instructions (DPI) said: “This is a democratic country and there is no restriction on anyone opening an institution any where in the country. Unfortunately, this is being turned into a mere money-spinning project.”

The department is yet to prepare a list of schools run by trusts based outside the State. The members of unaided schools’ association, however, claim that there were more than 100 such schools in the State.

The recent cases

Vibgyor High, one of such schools, was in the news recently for the rape of a six-year-old child on its premises. Orchids The International at Jalahalli, the school where a three-year-old girl was raped, has its management based in Hyderabad.

It has now come under scanner for running an English medium school though it was granted permission to run a Kannada medium school.

A parent from this school told Deccan Herald: “When I went to enrol my child, I saw a letter on the notice board saying that HRD Minister Smriti Irani had praised the school’s quality education. That gave me confidence to make the admission. However, the letter mysteriously disappeared later and the school credibility itself is in question now.”

The school had also promised parents that their children would be studying CBSE syllabus from Class 3 to 5, CISCE syllabus from Class 5 to 7 and it would IGCSE curriculum after Class 7. This offer too attracted several students. However, offering certificate from multiple boards is not permitted. A school should follow a single curriculum after obtaining recognition from the board concerned.

These schools are desperate to attract students to their multiple branches. According to D Shashi Kumar, Secretary, Karnataka Private School Joint Action Committee (KAP-JAC), these schools have sales representatives who monitor local enrolments. The executives secure database of parents residing in the locality and call them up for enrolment.

“Not only this, they poach students from other schools in the locality by contacting the parents and maligning other schools to attract students,” he added.
DH News Service

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