To see private schools citing the fate of students, in an attempt to be spared MCD’s sealing drive, is an approach one would associate with wily politicians. Some 1920 private pre-primary, primary and secondary schools have been listed by the MCD for illegal land use. Many of these schools are teaching shops and not the educational institutions associated with the word ‘school’. They are not dissimilar to the little shops selling mobile phone services in the nooks and corners in every locality.
Such schools provide children neither open space for play, nor any security from fires or accidents, operate as they do in the midst of congested residential colonies. Those among them who claim to have a poignant point in having being established before Delhi’s land rules came into force should know that it is their responsibility to stay within the law. Clearly, the benefits of being in the education market far outweigh those of illegal use of rented premises or land. But this is not the first instance of schools running into land use problems. Many private schools, given land on subsidised rates on the condition that they will educate poor children, have reneged on their promise. Time and again, the matter crops up without any concrete solution. This time round too, the schools have had sufficient time to work out feasible solutions for relocation. But they have failed to take any proactive action to ensure that the pursuit of education is not hindered. This, in itself, is a demonstration of the schools’ expectation that shooting from the shoulders of the hapless children will help them escape MCD action.
The Delhi State Public School Management Association wants these schools to be ‘regularised’. But given the pathetic physical infrastructure, that may not be a good solution. A better idea would be to use the local government school premises for additional shifts or tying up with private but legal schools to share premises. This will expand the school capacity in the city, without compelling children to learn from teaching shops.