The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had budgeted Rs 8 crore for procuring benches for schools in 2009. Two years on, students at most MCD schools continue to sit on the floor. An MCD school at Shahdara is one such school. Twenty years after it was built, kids are yet to sit on a bench.
In some cases, MCD has built porta cabins for students who earlier had to sit in tents. However, the cabins are so crammed that children feel suffocated. “We have 281 students in our school and only four porta cabins. Some students even have to sit outside the cabins,” said R P Pal, principal, Mustafabad MCD school. A group of such students recently sent 140 postcards to the chief justice of Delhi high court, highlighting their plight.
Justices Dipak Misra and Manmohan have converted these postcards into a public interest litigation and the case came up for hearing earlier this month. The court had summoned education committee director Prem Lata after photographs, depicting the dismal state of these schools, were submitted before it as evidence. Delhi HC counsel Ashok Aggarwal inspected three such schools along with MCD commissioner K S Mehra and both were shocked to find the sorry state of the schools. “Right now, almost 10 lakh children don’t go to schools and if tomorrow they turn up, there is no space for them. MCD officials keep themselves busy in making policies and plans for students that never take off. ,” said Aggarwal.
MCD is to provide 70,000 benches to its schools. But only 12,000 benches were bought in 2009. “These benches are inspected by the Shri Ram laboratory. It checks the durability of the wood used to make these benches and only after its green signal, we can purchase them. But the lab has put an objection,” said Mahindra Nagpal, the chairman of the education committee.
Only one question - what happened to the unspent money?
The director of public instructions in Kerala, Mr A.P.M. Mohammad Hanish, perhaps went somewhat overzealous on 31st July and issued an order banning cinematic dance in all government, aided and unaided schools across Kerala. This order also includes CBSE and ICSE affiliated schools (which operate on the basis of a No Objection Certificate) in the state. The district education authorities are to implement the order with immediate effect in 15,000 schools across the State.
Mr Hanish said “It has come to our notice that certain private organisations and TV channels are promoting cinematic dance in schools all over the state...It has reached ridiculous levels with classrooms are being used for cinematic dance training.’’
He said there were reports that some of the so called cinematic dance experts and trainers were using the opportunity to exploit students. Such restrictions are the need of the hour, he said.
Though the order does border on the humorous, there might be an element on skewed focus in some schools. The dance training is obviously, not the focus for a school and neither is lending out class rooms for commercial purposes.
Unaware Of revised SAS Rules, schools have to pay surcharge on tax. More than 800 schools and colleges in Bangalore are receiving notices from the BBMP with a list of arrears since 2008. At a broad level, all educational institutions in the city are exempt from paying property tax. However, the revised rules under self-assessment scheme (SAS) 2008 make it mandatory that they pay 25% of the tax amount as ‘service charges’ to the corporation considering that they also use the civic amenities provided. Majority of the institutions are not aware of the revised rules.
As per BBMP records, there are over 2,000 schools and colleges in the city including at least eight national institutions. Per BBMP, only 60% of them have promptly paid the service charges since 2008.
The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has issued a circular to all schools in the city to furnish details of admissions in the 2011-2012 academic sessions. This is to ensure and monitor the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The RTE legislation promises free and compulsory education to children in the age group of six to 14 regardless of the socio-economic strata that they might belong to. The RTE also mentions that the school admission procedure should be “non-discriminatory, rational, transparent” and this recent circular is after schools (e.g. Mount Carmel, Anand Niketan) violated the requirement.
The circular says, "The commission would like to have the information in respect of children which your institution proposed to admit in class one in the academic session 2011-12."
Apart from Class I, the circular also asks school principals to submit details of pre-school / pre-primary class admissions and the number of children proposed to be enrolled in these classes in the new session.
The KOOLSKOOL store has gone live on a limited release, just in time for Diwali. The KOOLSKOOL team wishes its future customers, prospective partners and associating schools a very happy Diwali!
...and welcome to the future of school supply retailing in India.
NCERT most likely is the largest provider of text books in the country. All CBSE government schools use their books, and all private /unaided schools use their books. Each year, at the beginning of the academic session, there is a perpetual shortage of NCERT books. Each distributor that we have met so far has been moaning about the pain they have to go through to procure NCERT books. Every school we talked to this time including Vasant Valley, and Genesis Global has shown concern mentioning that their time tested distributors and publishers are unable to get NCERT books on time. And this is in Delhi. In Bangalore, its the usual every year story too.The situation as we understand, is the same in West Bengal, Orissa or any other state in the country.
The shortage gets reported in the newspapers every year (2004 report, 2007 report)without fail and 2010 was no exception. Distributors complained that they receive the books in installments and the first installment never more than 10-15% of their total requirement. The books are cheap (thankfully), but late. For distributors who cater to Indian schools outside the country (middle east, Africa for example), they need to airfreight the books thus adding to their operation cost, on top of low margins. Even with the multiple installments, the distributors do not manage to get more than about 80-85% of their total requirement. This obviously impacts the syllabus completion in schools adversely.
There must be hundreds of distributors who pick the books from NCERT. Given that, and there is a perpetual shortfall of 20-15%, it surely can't possibly be that difficult for NCERT to print more and early. If the government is unable to provide books, how will the forcible admission of extra students through RTE work well? Just that this gives rise to a different industry. Distributors mention that fake (or photocopied) versions of the books invade the market every year to make up the shortfall.