January 7, 2020.
TED NewsDesk, Mumbai: As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) department of education data, there are around 206 private primary schools that are running illegally. BMC further elaborated that the 206 schools have not fulfilled the requirements to function as a school. To this effect, the BMC had put up a warning for parents to not put their children in these schools.
Out of the 206 listed schools, 162 are English medium, 16 are Urdu medium, 15 are Hindi medium and 13 are Marathi medium schools. Most of these schools do not even have basic infrastructure and teaching staff. Not a single of these 206 schools has got permission from the BMC under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which is mandatory for a school to function legally. In such a situation, the school has to pay a charge of Rs 1 lakh under RTE for running without the approval of BMC. Additionally, the school will have to pay a sum of Rs 10,000 for each day they carry on running.
According to the BMC education officer, Mahesh Palkar, “These schools have not acquired permission from the BMC education department to run the school as they do not meet the 10 mandatory infrastructure norms stipulated by the RTE Act. The Act states that schools must have a compound wall, the teacher-student ratio of 1: 30 in primary and 1:35 in upper primary, separate toilets for girls and boys, safe drinking water and playgrounds among other facilities. Majority of these schools are located in the slum pockets of the city and do not have proper infrastructure and qualified teachers.”
Earlier also in March 2019, BMC had deemed 211 schools as illegal as they did not have approvals even after receiving three warnings between 2018 and 2019. Even then, the Corporation had published the names of these schools in newspapers to warn the parents to not admit their children in these schools. But these schools did not pay heed to the repeated warnings of the BMC and kept on functioning. However, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, 5 of these schools shut down, making the number of now-illegal schools to 206.
Palkar further stated, “We have already issued notices to these schools time and again but they have not acted on it. The schools are currently shut, as soon as they reopen we will slap them with fines of Rs 1 lakh for violations.”
Source: Free Press Journal