The fate of several small schools in the city hangs in the balance with the State Government insisting on compulsory recognition of all schools. The deadline for applying for recognition for the academic year 2010-11, without fine, ended on Saturday.

Though the AP Tutorials and Convents Association (APTCA) sought exemption for tutorials and extension of deadline for filing of applications for others till December 31, the Government seems to be in no mood to listen.

There are a total of 572 unrecognised schools in the district. Of these 374 applied for recognition while the rest haven’t applied, perhaps, thinking that the Government would soften its stand on the issue. Needless to say, the small private schools located in slums and street corners are doing yeomen service to the poor by imparting education for a nominal fee. Insisting on recognition would mean shelling out lakhs or rupees to comply with fire safety norms, provision of playgrounds and other amenities.

The APTCA has raised certain valid points and wrote to the Secretary for Secondary Education about the difficulties involved in meeting the guidelines. “Insistence on Fire Certificate would mean spending lakhs of rupees which the small school cannot afford. These schools should be allowed to provide water drums, sand buckets and fire extinguishers and they could be certified by the DEO,” says APTCA general secretary K.S.N. Murthy.

He sought that the Education Act of 82, amended in 1987, should be implemented to enable small schools to go for registration instead of recognition.

“We can’t penalise children for failure of the system. Even Municipal and Government schools do not comply with the norms. The future of children studying in small schools is at stake now. The parents should also be consulted on the issue and schools that are running on sound lines should be allowed to continue,” president of the Parent-Teacher Association of ETASI Timpany School, C. Balasatish said.

“We have sent their representation to the Director of School Education but haven’t received any reply so far. Recognition is normally granted for five years and there is also no communication from the Government regarding the demand for extending it to 10 years,” outgoing District Education Officer M. Suryanarayana told The Hindu.

Tough time

No doubt scores of tutorials and small schools would have to close shop from the next academic year. But, where will the thousands of poor children studying in them go?

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