SRO 123, issued under Section 29 of the Jammu and Kashmir School Education Act, 2002, which was enacted by the state government to restrain escalation of private schools and constitution of parents' associations for a decision-making processes vis-à-vis enhancement of fee, is being openly violated by private schools here in Udhampur.
The guidelines of SRO 123 are based on the parameters of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) which facilitates opening of primary schools, upgrade of primary to middle schools and middle schools to high schools.
Under SRO 123, private players are asked to establish their schools in noise-free zones and ensure a space of 1-2 sq metre per student in classrooms.
For middle and primary schools, the order reads that the principal's room should be of a minimum area of 150 sq metre and a staff room of 100 sq metre. For high schools, the existence of assembly and examination halls of appropriate specifications is important. For higher secondary schools, the provision of separate science laboratories for all subjects is mandatory besides the most important is the need for the school authorities to set up parents' associations for decision-making processes.
"In majority of cases, none of the school has constituted the parents' associations and made the fee enhancement process completely a one-sided affair which irking parents in general here, said Sarita Devi, a parent. She said that there are several schools in Udhampur lacking in basic facilities as mentioned in the SRO.
Irked with the functioning of private schools, Udhampur People Democratic Party unit led by Azaz Sumbaria held a protest demonstration outside deputy commissioner office Udhampur demanding implementation of SRO 123 in letter and spirit.
Sumbaria added that provisions of SRO 123 related to fee structures of the private institutions is being openly violated by schools here and they are charging hefty registration fees every year and enhance tuition fees without consultation with parents.