Andhra Pradesh

Erring corporate schools in A.P. to face the axe

Regulatory panel seeks information from education officials

The State government has decided to crack the whip on private and corporate schools running without the requisite permissions.

The AP School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission (APSRMC) has asked the District Education Officers and Joint Directors in the department to identify and furnish a detailed information about the schools that are operating without official recognition. The commission intends to order closure of such schools.

“Despite repeated warnings, certain private schools in the corporate sector have been violating norms, especially with regard to fee structure. The problem is that parents do not lodge a formal complaint. Some of them approach the media without revealing their identity. There is no direct complaint by a parent to the commission to initiate action,” says commission Chairman R. Kantha Rao.

Exorbitant fee

Speaking to The Hindu, the former Judge cited reports of schools collecting exorbitant fee even before the commencement of a new academic year, ignoring the government directive that only tuition fee be collected in instalments in view of the existing financial crisis on account of the COVID-19 pandemic that necessitated a prolonged lockdown affecting livelihood of people.

The commission’s attention has also been drawn to the issues like teachers being denied salaries by their employers taking advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown. “But teachers do not come to us directly for fear of retrenchment,” he said, stating that there have been ludicrous cases of certain school managements insisting that their students wear school uniforms while attending even online classes.

Feasible options

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission discussed threadbare feasible options to impart education to students. While parents are divided on the efficacy of online classes for their children, the commission, after weighing pros and cons, set aside suggestions for a ‘zero academic year’ for students of classes 1 to 5. “We strongly feel that the children need to be engaged in some activity lest the long gap may leave a psychological impact on their minds besides contributing to the problem of school drop-outs,” he said.

Mr. Kantha Rao admitted that due to the prevailing uncertainty, the commission was unable to give clear-cut guidelines at this point. After doubts were expressed that parents may not send their children to schools immediately after commencement of the fresh academic year for fear of virus, the panel advised the government to go ahead with its plan to conduct classes in online mode, in adherence to the guidelines issued by the Centre.

“We are watching the situation. If it improves, we will recommend conduct of regular classes. If necessary, we will ask schools to acquire additional space and conduct classes in shifts, maintaining social distancing,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 12:41:12 PM |

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