Jammu: Alleging massive loot indulged in by several private schools under the garb of providing quality education, the NPP today made a fervent appeal to the Lt. Governor to check the shameless extortion of money from the affected students by these educational institutions. The exorbitant fee charged from students by several of these schools was not only grossly disproportionate to the facilities provided by these schools but brazenly contravened the objectives for which these schools were provided NOCs, recognition by govt and affiliation by respective educational boards. Not only were these schools resorting to extortionist tendencies to mint money in the name of providing better education but had been brazenly defying the provisions of Right to Education Act (RTE) with none to take cognizance. This was jointly stated by senior NPP leaders Mr. Rajesh Padgotra and Mr. Gagan Pratap Singh while addressing a press conference in Jammu today.
Coming down heavily on private schools for defying the most fundamental provision of RTE Act relating to provision of 25% free seats for poor (economically weaker sections), Mr. Rajesh Padgotra said that it amounted to not only an economic offence but a criminal offence as well. Likewise funds were being extracted from students in the name of caution money, sports funds, uniforms fees, transport charges, school improvement funds, red-cross funds, school functions and on several other frivolous grounds, he divulged. Majority of the complaints had been made against the Heritage school, Sainik Colony besides few others but an unholy nexus between corrupt officers and school managements was the biggest stumbling block in initiating penal action against the said schools. He announced to hold protest demonstrations outside the erring schools in case the govt failed to act against them within a week.
Mr. Gagan Pratap Singh, State Secretary-JKNPP further stated that as per the RTE Act no school fee, capitation, charges or expenses are to be paid by the child to get elementary education, a provision which was being brazenly defied by the schools in the UT of J&K, divulged Mr. Singh. Charging of admission fee and other charges was violative of the provisions of the Act, said Mr. Singh. “The Act further states that no child or his parent would be subject to any screening procedure for admission to school, no child shall be held back in any class till class-VIII and no child expelled from school. It further calls for provision of free text-books, writing materials and uniforms”, revealed Mr. Gagan. Alleging disregard for the RTE law which had been incorporated even as a Fundamental Right in Art 21-A of the Constitution of India, Mr. Singh called for civil as well as penal action against those defying the significant constitutional guarantees provided to the citizens of this UT.
Mr. Gurdeep Singh Raju (Youth Secretary Jammu Rural) was also present in the press conference.