Over 90% of city schools that could possibly face de-recognition, for not fulfiling infrastructure norms entailed in the Right to Education Act (RTE), have alleged that the state education department erred in their inspections.
The schools have appealed to CM Prithviraj Chavan and school education minister Rajendra Darda, seeking re-checking of schools by district-level education officers.
Schools have alleged that instead of education inspectors, contract staff from Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, did the inspections.
“Some schools have received derecognition notices even though they fulfiled the infrastructure requirement.
We received the derecognition notice for not having a playground and a separate room for the headmistress. But we have these facilities,’’ said Veena Donwalkar, principal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Vidyalaya, Mahim.
Other schools had received notices for not having ramps for disabled students.
“But many of these schools are single-storey buildings and do not require ramps,” said Prashant Redij, of the Mumbai Principals Association.
Many schools claim that that they were not warned before they were issued notices.
“At least a month’s notice should have been given. Nobody even came to check the infrastructure. We were only asked to fill in a form and send it to the department,” said Donwalkar. Schools have been pulled up for not having big classrooms.
The RTE requires classrooms to be at least 400 square feet in size but classrooms in most city schools are between 300 and 350 square feet.
“The municipal corporation is not giving us permission to expand classrooms,” said Redij.
“The education inspectors could not check the proposals. They are short-staffed and were busy with exams and online admissions,” confirmed a senior education official.
There are only four deputy education inspectors right now even though rules require at least 18.