The education department has asked 29 state board (SSC) schools in the western suburbs to shut down because they don't have No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from the state. The move could rattle the lives of thousands of students studying in these schools. Many of these schools are more than a decade old.
The education department said that students from these schools would be accommodated in nearby schools. "It will be our responsibility to ensure that students in these schools don't suffer. The department will give students special letters to help them secure admission in good schools," said PR Pawar, education inspector, west zone, which includes schools from Bandra to Dahisar.
However, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) United Forum said that this won't be easy. "The department may say that students won't suffer, but it will be difficult to find good schools. The department should have informed parents before doing this," said Arundhati Chavan, president of the forum.
The schools were issued notices in the past one month. The department is checking the affiliation and recognition status of all city schools in accordance with the Right to Education Act. The Act states that every school needs government approval to operate, failing which, the government can shut down the school. Education inspectors from south, north and west zones have been inspecting documents of all schools. "Although most of these schools have requested the government for permission before commencing, they don't have formal approvals," added Pawar.
The education department has advised parents to check the status of schools before applying for admission. The best way to check the credentials of a school is to go to the area ward office, which keeps a record of school documents.
Before starting a school, managements ask the state government for approval. The proposals are then sent to district and state education committees. These committees visit the school. The office of deputy director of education then grants the school recognition or authorisation.