De-recognition of private schools: Is it selective action?

  • Javaid Malik
  • Publish Date: Sep 24 2018 3:07AM
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  • Updated Date: Sep 24 2018 3:07AM
De-recognition of private schools: Is it selective action?File Photo

The Jammu and Kashmir government has started acting tough against the private schools operating in Kashmir. To begin with, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has suspended the recognition of two reputed private schools, R P School Mallabagh and Green Valley Educational Institute (GVEI) Ellahibagh for what, it said, arbitrary hike in fee structure.  

The DSEK taking a “tough call” has sent the alarm bells ringing across the Valley. Parents are worried as they fear that such harsh steps can jeopardize the careers of their children.

According to the data available with the Kashmir Ink, nearly 12500 students are enrolled in R P School Mallabagh and GVEI Ellahibagh. De-recognizing these institutions means that these students would have to appear for Board exams through some other school.

The DSEK has issued a communiqué to the joint secretary J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) and Principal District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) Srinagar wherein they have been instructed not to entertain any matter of the two schools till further instructions.

The action against both these schools was taken after the parents of a few students approached the Governor’s grievance cell with a complaint that school managements have hiked the fee by 18% and have ignored the directions of the State Fee Fixation Committee.

Soon after the DSEK suspended the recognition of both these schools, representatives of the Private Schools Association Jammu and Kashmir met the Governor’s Advisor Khurshid Ganie and apprised him about the difficulties being faced by them. They demanded that the DSEK order should be rescinded and these institutions should be allowed to function without any “fear and harassment.”

Advisor Ganie assured them that no injustice would be done with anyone and they “need not worry.”

An official of the Education department said that the government has taken a serious note about the private educational institutions resorting to “arbitrary fee hikes” every now and then, and a policy is being framed to make these schools fall in line. 

A day after the PSAJK delegation called on Governor’s Advisor, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan reiterated his directions to the officials to suspend the recognition of the private schools which are not paying attention to the directions issued by the government.

An owner of one of the private schools, who wished not to be named, said that R P school and GVEI have been singled out for the “obvious reasons.” “Till date government has not acted against the schools which during all these years have been throwing all norms to wind,” he said.

He said that these two schools carter to the huge population scattered in Srinagar’s old city and other adjoining areas. “It seems that the government wants to deprive a particular section of the society from getting quality education,” he added.

The GVEI has one of the largest campuses in Kashmir and R P school is among the oldest institutions of the Valley. “Students of both these schools have brought laurels to the state. Alumni of these schools have made big in their lives,” he added. 

One of the members of the PSAJK said that de-recognizing the GVEI and R P school is an attempt to prevent these schools from becoming bigger than the schools which claim to be the premiere institutions in the Valley. “It’s unfortunate that government has failed to improve the quality of the education in the schools run by it. The state government spends nearly Rs 11000 per month on the education of one child in the government schools, despite spending such a huge amount results are far from satisfactory,” said principal of a private school.

He said it’s strange that authorities are trying to undermine the contribution of the private schools towards the society. “There are many schools in Kashmir which charge more fee than the R P school and GVEI but the managements of these schools are influential and they are not answerable to anyone,” the principal said.  

A parent said the people who complain about fee hike and other issues need to bear in mind that “nothing comes free.” “It’s the parents who choose schools for their children. Schools don’t approach them to seek admissions. Many of us send our children to outside states and even foreign countries for studies. We even apply for educational loans for our children to meet their expenses but when it comes to quality education within Kashmir we start cribbing,” he said, adding, “If we want our children to get quality education then we have to pay for it. It’s strange that government suspended the recognition of the R P school and GVEI on the basis of a complaint filed by a handful of parents. Before suspending the recognition the DSEK should have served a show cause notice to these schools and sought the feedback from other parents also.”

President of PSAJK Ghulam Nabi Var while talking to the Kashmir Ink termed the suspension of recognition of these schools as a “hasty step.” “We came to know through media that the recognition of these schools has been suspended. We were not taken on board before announcing this decision,” Var said. “PSAJK is a registered association and whenever government used to take any decision regarding education sector in the past the DSEK used to inform us. Had they taken us on board we would have asked the management of the R P school and GVEI to look into the issue, but we were ignored.”    

He said, “Parents need not panic as we are in touch with the concerned authorities and this matter would be resolved soon.”

Var said that the administration should leave the academic matters to the Education department as these are crucial decisions and have far reaching consequences.   

The DSEK, G N Itoo, cautioned all the heads of the private institutions not to hike the fee in violation of rules and that the instructions issued by the department should be adhered to in letter and spirit.