Tag Archives: School Education News

Provisions of RTI Act apply on private schools also: CIC

CBSE syllabus

The provisions of RTI Act apply on private schools also which are governed by a law such as the Delhi Education Act, the Central Information Commission has held.

The case relates to an ex-employee of Jindal Public School who filed an RTI application with Directorate of Education seeking a certified copy of service book and other details from her past employer.

The Directorate provided the information available with them but the school refused to furnish the reply saying RTI Act does not apply on it.

Directing the school to disclose information sought by its ex-employee, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said the school is duty bound under sections four and eight of Delhi Education Act 1973 to abide by the regulatory conditions of service, payment of salaries as prescribed for which school has to maintain records which provide an “inherent and implied” right to information to their employees.

“Under Right to Education Act 2009 also, the recognised school is under an obligation to appoint eligible teachers and provide them with prescribed wages. This also reveals that it has given inherent right to information to the teachers from their employers,” he said.

The Commissioner said if the appellant in her capacity as ex-employee of the school has right to information under any legislation such as Delhi Education Act, that will fall under the purview of Section 2(f) of the RTI Act which gives PIO, Appellate Authority and the Information Commissioner power to enforce her right to information.

“Hence, the school is directed to discharge their obligation under law by furnishing the information sought by the appellant to the respondent authority (Directorate of Education), who in turn is directed to provide the same to the appellant,” he said. (PTI)

Facelift mooted for government school uniforms

municipal schools

If you can’t match up to them, then at least try to look like them. This seems to be the new motto of government and aided schools in the district.

Recently, at a meeting of school headmasters, the district education department advised that steps should be taken to make school uniforms attractive, including introduction of tie and shoes to ensure that students look presentable.

The step has been mooted as part of efforts to stem the flow of students seeking admission to CBSE schools.

“Student enrolment in government and aided schools has been falling over the last few years. As students in private schools wear attractive uniform with tie and shoes, parents have high regard for such schools and desire to enroll their children there.

Hence, it is important that we too introduce attractive uniforms that make students look smart,” said Shinemon M K, deputy director of education, Ernakulam.

Though the government had announced a scheme to provide free school uniform for students in government schools up to Class 8, it has not been executed as yet. Every year Rs 400 will be allocated to each student to buy two sets of uniforms from agencies identified by the government under the scheme.

“We found that among students of government schools, the uniform is often untidy and improperly maintained. As the amount earmarked for school uniform purchase is insufficient to buy the cloth and stitch it, headmasters may seek financial aid from the PTA and sponsors. We also need to introduce tie and shoes in our schools as a mandatory aspect of the school uniform,” said Sreelatha A S, assistant educational officer, Kothamangalam.

There are 88 government schools and 175 aided schools under the four district educational offices in Ernakulam.

“We will try to implement the suggestion. But the stitching cost of uniform will pose a big problem to parents. It is a fact that if we have a proper uniform, the children will look smart and more parents would be inclined to enroll their children in our school as they will also get quality education,” said Khadeeja K A, headmistress, Kanjiramattom GLPS. (TOI)

Many CBSE schools miss date to create websites

CBSE

The deadline has passed, but many Central Board of Secondary Education-affiliated schools in the city are yet to set up websites as per the board’s norms.

A CBSE circular last month asked schools without websites to set up one before July 17 and warned that defaulters would face action. The circular, a reminder of the 2010 order, said, “defaulters will not be able to register candidates for board examinations and the responsibility would lie with the management.”

Some schools still don’t have websites and there is no system to monitor the institutions. “The affiliation board in New Delhi takes care of the website programme. The rule is especially for affiliated private schools to ensure they have websites that are accessible and informative to parents and the public,” said D T S Rao, CBSE regional director, Chennai region.

He said the board would check the affiliation by-laws followed by schools when the board exam process began. “We also conduct surprise periodic checks on schools,” he said.

The websites must include details about the school infrastructure, transport facilities, number of buses, fee structure, management members, teachers’ qualification and salary details, according to the circular. It emphasises that schools update their annual reports before September 15 every year. “Salary details are important to make sure teachers get paid properly,” said Rao adding that some schools don’t follow the state or central government pay scales.

Several schools do have sites but it takes more than a few clicks to find their existence and in some cases, they don’t turn out to be useful. “We revamped our website this February,” said Modern Senior Secondary School principal K Mohana. “We had a website set up four years ago but it was unsatisfactory. Now, we have a regular update system.”

Websites can be a boon especially for working parents seeking details about their wards, including about homework. “My son’s school has a website. But, it would be useful if we have PTA groups on the websites like in the case of some popular city schools,” said Lakshmi R, a bank employee. “Through this, we’ll be able to stay in touch with other parents, know about events and activities in the school.”  (TOI)

Bihar to build 1,000 higher secondary schools every year

schools
One thousand higher secondary schools would be constructed in Bihar every year to lift the standard of education in the state, chief minister Nitish Kumar said.

The government has fixed a target to set up 4,500 high secondary schools in the state in the next five years, he said on the third foundation day of Bihar State Educational Infrastructure Development Corporation (BSEIDC) Limited.

Kumar said his government had accorded top priority to expanding educational infrastructure as literacy is directly related to population control.

“It has been noticed that wherever the literacy rate is high there is low growth rate of population,” he added.

The CM inaugurated through remote control 150 school buildings built by BSEIDC in the past three years.

He also inaugurated computer monitoring software installed in 1,000 schools.

Education minister P K Shahi said besides completing 150 school buildings, the corporation is working on over 500 sites.

The corporation has been entrusted with the task of constructing high quality school buildings, libraries, toilets, sports grounds and common rooms of the schools. (PTI)

Over 400 schools face RTE axe for missing infrastructure

Right to Education

Time is running out for schools that still haven’t fulfilled infrastructure norms required by the Right To Education Act (RTE). In the six districts of Nagpur division, 436 schools are on the education department blacklist for fulfilling 40%, or less, of the infrastructure norms.

There are 10 infrastructure norms, like boundary wall, toilets, water facility etc, which every school has to fulfil to be recognized by the education department. The department has made a list of schools fulfilling less than four norms and put them on notice that the compliance deadline expires on August 31.

Deputy director of education Mahesh Karajgaonkar confirmed the development and said there won’t be a second chance for the erring schools. “Schools that fulfil four, or less, norms are the worst offenders and action will be taken. They have all been given enough time, but their RTE compliance level has not risen above 40%. One thing is clear, now there won’t be extensions or grace period,” he said.

Only one school in Nagpur city finds itself on this ‘hit-list’ prepared by the education department. Though the document in TOI’s possession does not name the school, sources in the education department say it is an aided school located in Lalganj, near Itwari.

Technically though, even schools which fulfil 90% norms are offenders, since RTE expects full compliance. However, an official who deals specifically with RTE compliance said ground realities have to be taken into account before any action is taken.

“In our division, only 8% schools fulfil all 10 infrastructure norms, but then we can’t just shut down the remaining schools in next two months. Lakhs of students will be inconvenienced, hence we are going about it in a phase-wise manner. Schools have been upgrading their infrastructure and completing the checklist slowly. But if schools are still stuck at 40% compliance, then it is unacceptable and we will have to crack the whip. The remaining schools will be given time to fulfil more norms in the compliance scale, which our department will monitor regularly,” he said, requesting anonymity for himself.

TOI was informed that there are 12,953 schools in Nagpur division and only 1,036 fulfil all 10 RTE norms. Chandrapur and Gadchiroli are the worst performing districts in the division and have consistently dragged down the overall performance of the entire division. (TOI)

Private schools under watch for violating admission norms

School

The School Education Department has not yet received any clear-cut instructions on dealing with schools that have above four sections for each class, it is learnt.

According to the Inspector of Matriculation Schools (IMS) B. Mathivanan, five schools had flouted the norms in Tiruchi revenue district. “For starting the fifth section, schools need the consent of the IMS, and for sections beyond fifth the approval of the Directorate of Matriculation Schools is required.”

The Code of Regulations for Matriculation Schools strictly states this. All schools were cautioned well in advance, but five schools in Tiruchi district chose to continue with additional sections.

According to education department sources, any harsh action at this juncture would cause consequences to the students admitted in excess. However, these schools could face consequences when they apply for renewal of recognition. The schools would be required to explain why they offer only science groups, sources added.

Very few matriculation schools in the district offer arts groups at higher secondary level. On the other hand, arts and science colleges admit students for the B.A. and B.Com degree programmes in large numbers. Students from a limited number of higher secondary schools that offer arts group enjoy the advantage of gaining easy entry into the arts degree programmes. Fortunately for students in rural parts, over the last few years the State government has been appointing teachers for Accountancy, Economics and Commerce in government schools upgraded with higher secondary status.

But, it was difficult to instruct the private schools to offer arts or vocational groups as “they would easily cite lack of patronage,” said Mr. Mathivanan. (The Hindu)

MP government ‘merges’ 95 schools in 5 years, opens only five

Schools

Department of education has ‘merged’ nearly 100 primary and middle schools in the last five years in Indore district and opened only five schools in the recent past.

Activists alleged that it is government’s strategically chalked-out plan to close down the existing infrastructure and utilize ‘school land’ for other purpose.

According to official data, as many as, 95 primary and middle schools have been ‘merged.’ Of these, 85 are primary while 10 are middle schools. As per the latest circular of school education department issued on July 5, 2013, report for ‘merger’ from the block research coordinator (BRCs) has been invited.

Sources said that the process of merger started in early 2000. In an order issued in 2004, under the criteria- two schools within 250 metres with students lesser than 20 were ordered to be merged. In the latest order, schools within single premise with less than 40 students can be merged.

Joint director S B Singh said that schools running in the same premises with less number of students, have been merged and it is being done to make optimum utilization of the existing resources.

Last year, the department had proposed to build 15 new schools in Indore district, of which only five have been completed. One of the reasons officials cited for very few new schools being constructed, was unavailability of land.

Activist Belu Goerge, who works in field of education, termed the government move as “irrational” and “illogical” in the name of rationalization of education. “It took five decades, for the government to bring Right to Education (RTE) Act and ensure free and compulsory education. But by ‘merging’ schools, it is indirectly chalking strategy to acquiring government land. For example, primary school at Old Palasia has been merged and the building now houses Palasia police station,” she said.

“The merger should be gradual and slow so that the children are not affected. But here, in few cases, children have to dropout, as it happened with Kandilpura, school number 17, which was merged and shifted to school number 41,” she added. (TOI)

5 years after announcement, model schools running in temporary sheds

government primary schools

The central government had decided in 2008 to construct model schools and hostels for girls in secondary education. They were supposed to be operational from 2012. But model schools are still running in temporary structures and girls hostels are yet to start.

Talking about model schools, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had in 2007 announced that ‘education provided in a model school should be holistic and integral touching upon physical, emotional and aesthetic development in addition to academics’.

As per the Ministry of Human Resource Development website, it was decided to set up 6,000 model schools as a benchmark of excellence. 3,500 schools were to be set up in educationally backward blocks (EBBs) in all states and Union Territories.

The main objective of the scheme is to have at least one good quality senior secondary school in every block, to try innovative curriculum and to be a model in infrastructure, curriculum, and evaluation.

The girls hostels were a centrally sponsored scheme for 100-seat hostels in 3479 EBBs across the country. There are 43 EBBs in Maharashtra and both model schools and girls hostels were to be set up here.

Documents with Newsline show that Rs 29.27 crore in 2011-12 and Rs 20.65 crore in 2012-13 were released for construction of model schools while Rs 25.60 crore was released in 2012-13 for construction of girls hostels.

“43 model schools are functioning in the state but in temporary buildings while none of the girls hostels have started. The reason is that we are in the process of acquiring land which is a very lengthy process. We have already acquired land in 28 EBBs and are in the process of acquiring land at other places. Every block will have about 5 acres in which schools and hostels will be constructed. Once land acquisition is over, construction will start immediately,” said Dr Suvarna Kharat, deputy secretary and state coordinator for the project.

“There is no special innovative curricula as such followed in these schools at present. These schools are affiliated to the state board and the same syllabus is taught here. There are around 40 students in these schools from class 6 to 10,” said Kharat. (The Indian Express)

Govt schools go hi-tech with online info system

Online admission

The Education department has decided to set up a school management information system which will include five government schools, Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector-16, GMSSS, Sector-35, Government Smart School, Sector-50, Government Smart School, Sector-53 and Government Senior Secondary School, Maloya.

The programme will start as a pilot project from the first week of August and will be a detailed online system including report cards and attendance register which can be accessed by the parents and the department.

The system will also consist of regular attendance updates of both students and teachers, to keep a check on their regularity. It will also display the amount of syllabus covered.

An information technology department official said, “Under this system, which will be started on a pilot basis, these schools will have a website which will be updated regularly in accordance to attendance, syllabus, and even timetable.”

With the system, the parents will also be able to access their child’s progress in the school. “The report cards will also be uploaded along with the daily or weekly progress report of the child, so that the parents can see how their child is grasping what is being taught at the school,” added the official.

The department took the decision after DPI (schools) Upkaar Singh expressed the need to have an online system where parents and the department can follow transparency and see the daily report of the programme’s and initiative’s of the schools.

The parent’s of students studying in government schools are more than happy with the decision.

Tarun Verma, parent of a Class-9 student said, “This process is welcomed because this will help us keep a track on our child and we’ll also be updated about the classes being taken and syllabus being taught in the school.”

Shalini Gupta, mother of Sector-10 GMSSS student said, “I think children’s report cards being uploaded on the website is great news for us parents. There are instances when a child gets bad marks and might hide the report card.”

The system is already available at all major private schools of the city. (HT)

Matriculation schools see opportunity in opening CBSE wings

CBSE syllabus

In what seems to be an emerging trend, several Matriculation schools in the city are opting to additionally float schools following the CBSE syllabus.

One such school is Don Bosco Egmore, which has been following the Matriculation syllabus for over five decades. Fr. John Alexander, rector-correspondent, Don Bosco, Egmore, said that the Don Bosco School of Excellence, which follows the CBSE syllabus, was started this year so that parents, many with transferable jobs, had an option. “Though the Matriculation school has its own advantages, CBSE offers greater flexibility and autonomy, even with regard to offering different languages for students. It has become mandatory for state board students to learn Tamil.

Though we are teaching Tamil and Hindi with equal weightage at the school following CBSE syllabus, students will have a choice from class VI onwards. Also, students need to be prepared for the global world, and CBSE is more suited for that,” he said.

Some schools and parents said that they are still apprehensive about the Samacheer Kalvi syllabus, a uniform syllabus for State Board, Matriculation, Anglo Indian, and OSLC schools. However, Fr. Alexander said that Samacheer Kalvi has brought in a less cumbersome approach to education. “This has drawn mixed responses. It is too early to assess its effectiveness, and has to be studied,” he said. The first batch of students took the class X examination as per the Samacheer Kalvi in 2012.

Though steps such as introducing Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation system in schools in the State similar to CBSE has helped, parents’ opinion is still mixed. One such parent is Bobby Manoj, who had admitted her son in a Matriculation school in kindergarten, and switched to CBSE, when the same school offered the option. “Both my husband and I studied in CBSE schools and since we were getting a mixed response about Samacheer Kalvi, and we did not know too much about it, we opted to switch to the CBSE syllabus,” she said.

Chitra Prasad, Correspondent, NSN group of schools said that they had started a CBSE school in 2012 and have up to class VI now. “One of the reasons was that several parents requested CBSE syllabus. Though the students at the CBSE school are primarily those who have switched from our Matriculation schools, all the application forms for our Matriculation schools were also sold out,” she said. Parents such as Lakshmi (name changed), whose daughter studies in class III at a Matriculation school said that she tried to get admission at a CBSE school, but opted for a Matriculation school because of the cumbersome admission process. “In the primary classes, it is easy on the children, which is not a bad thing, but as she goes to higher classes I would want her to learn more. I will not shift schools because I cannot go through the admission process again,” she said.

However, some school authorities did not register such trends. For instance, Padmini Sriraman, Principal, Hindu Senior Secondary School, said that there has neither been an increase or decrease in the number of students shifting boards, a principal of another CBSE school in Egmore said that they had admitted close to 50 students in class IV from other boards this year.

A senior authority of a group of institutions which is planning to start a CBSE school soon said that they felt that coming under the CBSE would give them more academic autonomy. “We did an internal survey in our matriculation school and found that 90 per cent students preferred CBSE,” he said.

Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary, State Platform for Common School System, however, argued that it is wrong to say that Samacheer Kalvi is diluted.

“The textbook is only a tool for learning, and not an end in itself. Volume and content alone are not indicators of what the child is learning,” he said. (The Hindu)