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Gujarat govt. to run DPS school associated with Nithyananda

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Move to ensure 800 students’ academic year is not affected

The Gujarat government on Wednesday decided to take over the management of the Delhi Public School (DPS) Ahmedabad East, which is embroiled in controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda’s ashram, till the end of current academic session, to ensure that the more than 800 students enrolled in the school don’t suffer and their academic year is not affected.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) cancelled the school’s affiliation on Sunday, leading to protests by parents and students who were insisting that the school should be allowed to function till the end of the academic year.

The school became controversial after it was found that it had leased out part of its premises to an ashram run by the absconding godman Nithyananda, who has been booked by the State Police for abducting and illegally confining minors in his ashram in the city.

Earlier, the State Education Department in its inquiry found that the school management had forged a No Objection Certificate submitted to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for securing affiliation.

“After meeting CBSE officials today, we have taken a decision in the interest of students. The government will take over the management of the school until the completion of this session,” said Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.

“It will ensure that students from Class I to Class XII are allowed to continue their studies in the same school till at least the end of the current session,” Mr. Chudasama added, after meeting with parents of students who have been holding sit-in protests at the school.

Over 800 students of the school, located in the outskirts of Ahmedabad, were left high and dry after it was closed following withdrawal of its affiliation by the CBSE and by the State Education Department, which also filed a police complaint against its trustees Manjula Pooja Shroff, Hiten Vasant and others, who have approached a local court seeking protection from arrest.

After the CBSE cancelled its affiliation, the school management had downed shutters, prompting parents and students to launch an agitation against the school’s closure. Students stayed put outside the campus late on Tuesday night, and continued their protest on Wednesday. They held placards stating “We want our school back” and “Education is power”.

A delegation of parents also met Governor Acharya Dev Vrat, requesting him to intervene in the matter.

Meanwhile, Principal Hitesh Puri said the school should be given three months to submit necessary documents. “The affiliation was taken away mid-session, so where will the students go? How will they prepare for the Board exams? If the school has no NOC, it should be given time [to submit one],” he said.

An inquiry set up by the State government on the CBSE’s request to look into the alleged illegal lease of land to Nithyananda’s ashram revealed that the school had forged the NOC of the Education Department, which was submitted for affiliation to the CBSE in 2009.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 6:30:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gujarat-govt-to-run-dps-school-associated-with-nithyananda/article30172256.ece

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