In the recently concluded 58th meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting earlier in June, it was decided to form a committee to promote accountability and transparency to benefit school students and parents. The primary decision was to bring about a policy decision through the Ministry of Human resources to impose penalties on school asking for capitation fees, donations and any other monetary considerations from students and their parents.
The decision from CABE comes in at an opportune time where donations for admissions are rampant across the country, especially in urban areas. In metros admission related donations range anywhere between Rs 10,000 to an astronomical Rs 5 lakhs. Donations are asked for at different points of time in an academic year, and in some cases
As KOOLSKOOL gradually starts to scale up in its business, so does the infrastructure need to as well. Our first thought was to create a backup for our internet connection. Our first connection through YOU broadband was at best flaky and unreliable. However, when it works, it worked well. Customer service is responsive.
We approached Tikona Broadband for our redundant connection. They were fairly quick in responding and also taking in the money for the connection. However, they never provided us the connection, and have not returned the money either (and it has been more than a month). Tikona chose to encash our cheque in spite of knowing that a connection was no feasible in the location that we are at. We have followed up, and gone up the chain through their customer service, their nodal officer (Vikram Kathavate) and also their appelate authority (Nagesh Prasad). They are all equally shameless and really do a copy paste of standard messages. Interesting, and inherently fraudulent company. Beware!
When the Tikona experience had started, we applied with the government supplier BSNL for a telephone and a DSL connection. A day after an SMS confirmed the application and in two days an individual from the local office called in to check. We landed up at the BSNL office within the week with the required papers and the connection was authorized, payments made within a week. Within another week, we had a telephone connection at the KOOLSKOOL office, and in another week we had a DSL internet connection as well. Their local engineer showed both time, provided his personal number as well in case the connection went down for an inordinate amount of time. Completely hassle free, fraud free! There, clearly, are public sector organizations which work fairly smoothly (though a little slower) and don't promote institutional fraud.
Should you want to reach Tikona (after having been cheated), here is where you could contact them. Of course, there is no guarantee that they will set the situation right.
The state transport department of Karnataka is starting to pursue its policy on school transport to ensure safety of children. This comes in close heels to the policy decisions in Tamil Nadu, though not early enough.
Though at a bit of an extra cost, schools and transporters will have to stop stuffing children into transport vehicles like sardines in a can. Also, drivers with a minimum experience of five years will be allowed to drive school transport and children will have enough space to sit comfortably and also keep their bags.
The transport department plans to introduce tax rebates for schools which buy their own cabs to ferry children as opposed to using private transporters. Those schools which outsource their cab service to private owners will be penalized. Recent accidents involving school students pushed the government to frame tough laws to regulate private cab owners making school trips. Another important inclusion is the mandate to install speed governors in these vehicles. Any violations could involve cancellation of vehicle permits and driving licences.
Transport commissioner T Sham Bhat commented “There are around 8,000 such illegal cabs in the city. Vehicles registered for private purpose are used for public use, like ferrying school children. This is strictly against the law. If any untoward incident happens, neither the cab owner nor children get insurance cover. So this increases the need for regulation’’ .