Several small nursery and primary schools in the district have alleged that the Department of School Education officials, who conduct frequent inspections to ensure compliance with all government norms, were frequently threatening the principals and headmasters of closure and were treating them with disrespect.
The head of a nursery school here said that the officials coming to inspect the schools often shouted at the Headmasters in front of other teachers and students. They frequently pointed out problems that cannot be solved immediately and as such, the schools were told that they would be shut down.
With schools having to renew their recognition every three years, the head of the school says they were reluctant to lodge any official complaint fearing retribution. The RTE Act prohibits schools from operating without recognition. A total of 30 schools were closed in the city last month over lack of recognition. The Correspondent of primary and nursery school said that educational officials were frequently rude and often questioned the building structure, for which an empanelled engineer had already given clearance. They would frequently suggest impractical changes to the building. If the construction works were taken up based on the points raised by the officials, they again objected to construction work being done when classes were underway.
Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Welfare Association General secretary G. Krishnaraj said that the treatment was openly hostile many a times. At least 50 more primary and nursery schools in Coimbatore district face closure now.
A total of 40 conditions were laid down by Justice K. Sampath Commission of Inquiry, which investigated the Kumbakonam fire tragedy that killed over 90 schoolchildren on July 16, 2004. Separately another set of norms were mandated by the RTE Act and schools were given a deadline of March 31 to comply with all these norms
“The focus of these inspections seems only to pick holes in the infrastructure of the schools. The officials want even small primary and nursery schools to have the infrastructure of big matriculation schools,” he added.
When contacted, Chief Education Officer A. Gnanagowri told The Hindu here on Sunday that all the School Education Department officials conducting inspections have been sensitised.
Further, the schools could intimate any such instance of misbehaviour directly to the Chief Education Officer.
She assured anonymity to those giving such complaints. However, those lodging such complaints must provide details such as when the inspection took place and what transpired.
The complaints could be lodged in the following contact numbers: (0422) 239 1849/239 1062.