February 22, 2011

Deadline for the debate on Maha school fee draft policy extended

MUMBAI: It isn't too late to voice your opinion on Maharashtra's nascent policy on school fee regulation. The state government's controversial draft fee regulation policy will be up for debate a while longer. 

The government, which put up the policy on its website and called for the public to give in their suggestions till Tuesday, has now further stretched the deadline to March 4. "Parents, school managements as well as political parties met me on Monday seeking an extension of the deadline,'' said school education minister Rajendra Darda. 

When it comes to walking the tight rope between pleasing both parents and school managements while drafting the policy, the state government seems to be rubbing both sides the wrong way. While parents are unhappy with the policy as they say it does little to curb profiteering, minority schools have complained to the government saying it violates their constitutional rights. 

Abraham Mathai, vice-chairperson of the state minorities commission, along with two school principals, one from a church-run school and another from a school run by the Anglo-Indian society, met Darda to air their views. 

"Minority institutions are guaranteed the right to govern their schools the way they want to. It is their constitutional right,'' says Mathai, adding that minority schools had a problem with the government dictating terms over school fee hikes. "The minister told us that the new policy was meant to curb profiteering by school managements. Just because a few schools are profiteering, the new law should not hamper the functioning of schools that are doing good work,'' said Mathai. 

He also points to the clause in the new draft policy which makes it mandatory for school managements to seek the approval of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) before hiking fees. "Earlier, the government had made it mandatory for schools to inform the PTA before hiking the fee. But now, even if a single PTA member opposes the fee hike, schools will not be able to go through with it,'' said Mathai. 

He is also opposed to another section of the draft, which says that schools cannot hike their fee for three years. "The government has not taken inflation into account,'' he said. Mathai is also sceptical about the proposed divisional fee regulatory committee which will look into issues between parents and schools, as it consists largely of education department officials. 

www.hindustantimes.com | 22Feb2011 | Mumbai

February 15, 2011

Ministers response to the school fee article in Sakshi on 14th Feb, 2011

Sakshi | 15Feb2011 | Page6 | www.sakshi.com
Sakshi | 14Feb2010 | Page 6 | http://www.sakshi.com/

February 7, 2011

School Fee hikes on TV9 Telugu @ 1900hrs 7th February Part1

School Fee on TV9 Telugu Part2

February 2, 2011

Pune school wants to churn out future leaders

In a new initiative, the DAV Public School, Aundh, has introduced a unique system to educate students about how the Indian government functions. 

Election campaigns, posters and pamphlets were distributed in the school in order to campaign for the representatives. The representatives were selected from standard XI.

The elections were conducted, wherein students and teachers cast their votes by using an electronic voting machine. The elected members would function like members of parliament in the school for one whole year. 

A government of the elected candidates was also set up. All elected representatives were administered the oath by the coordinator of the school, Lakshmi. The code of conduct for ethics has to be followed by all elected representatives.

‘President’ Sohal Thakur told students, “My team may not do different things but they may do things differently.” ‘Prime minister’ Kirti Sinha thanked the teachers and students for their support. Parents of all representatives were invited to witness the occasion.

At the end of the function, school principal Jayshri Venkatraman, teachers and parents blessed the representatives. According to Venkatraman, “This exercise will help students to understand how the government works and how elections take place, and would get them involved and interested in the procedures.” 

Want ward in school? Ask police to certify your character.

Want your child admitted to a reputed school? Be ready to produce a character certificate.

Sounds bizarre, right? But thisschool in Juhu has its argument ready. It has to do with security threats, the authorities say. Parents must submit a character certificate verifying that they have no criminal background. 

Fatima Sheikh (name changed), a parent who approached the school to get her kid admitted in senior KG, was prepared for long queues, interviews and waiting lists, but not for several trips to the police station.

According to the specifications of the school, the character certificate has to be obtained from the crime branch of the police. It must carry mention of any previous criminal case such as theft, murder and accident against the parents.
“We had to submit the certificate within 10 days. My husband had to take leave from work to ensure the progress of the certificate. We also had to give bribes to officers so that they would speed up the process,” she said.

The school authorities said they adopted this policy after the police issued an advisory in December 2010 to all city schools to step up security measures as they were likely to be soft targets for terrorist activities.

“This is a security measure to ensure that we don’t have the wrong kind of people entering the institution, which could lead to a security threat to all our students. These measures have been incorporated by our management after considerable representation from the parents and adequate thought to serve the best interest of our students,’’ said the principal of the school.

She said the school has installed closed circuit television camera network and provided additional security, both during and after school hours, as security measures. “We have asked the certificate from parents not to eliminate children of parents with a criminal record but to evaluate the risk profile based on the information provided,” she said.

If the parents are not happy, then the police are not amused too. A senior official from the crime branch said, “Running a background check on parents is a time consuming affair and requires many resources. We have to report even minor crimes like accidents. The process generally takes more than 30 days. It is taxing on the police department as well.”

Sunil Chavan, deputy director of education, said schools are not allowed to have any sort of screening process while admitting children. “A school leaving certificate, bona fide or birth certificate are the only documents that schools can ask for. We have not given the school permission to ask for character certificates,” he said.