Deputy commissioner (DC) Basant Garg constituted a seven-member special committee on Monday to resolve the ongoing conflict between private schools and parents of schoolchildren.
Parents have been protesting against the alleged violation of rules in levying fee and sale of books and other materials by private schools. Earlier, the administration had called a meeting with parents and representatives of private schools at the DC’s office.
In the meeting, representatives from almost all private schools including those affiliated to Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) came to present their take on the issues involved. Notably, only a few from the parents’ side were allowed to enter the meeting hall.
Legal advisers of parents’ association, Sukhdeep Singh Dhillon and Sushil Khurana, presented major demands and complaints of parents while president of Mahavir Sanatan Dharm Sabha-managing educational institutes in the region, Rajan Garg, presented the view of the schools during the meeting.
In the meeting, some heated exchange of words was witnessed between school representatives and parents on issues including annual development charges, SMS charges, exorbitantly priced books being sold inside schools and school uniform.
Parents blamed some schools that they alleged were fleecing parents as compared to other schools for the same facilities. Representative from Delhi Public school said they were prescribing three books of National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for Class 8, but others were prescribing only one NCERT book.
At the end of the meeting, the DC constituted a seven-member committee to check whether the schools were violating the guidelines laid down by the government and the CBSE or not. The committee comprises Bathinda sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Anmol Singh Dhaliwal as chairman and district education officers (elementary and secondary education) Rajinder Singh and Amarjit Kaur, two members from parents’ association and two representatives of private schools. Parents also submitted around 800 written complaints against the private schools to the DC.
After the meeting, when president of parents’ association, Gurwinder Sharma, revealed that their secretary Rohit Sharma was on a fast unto death, the DC enquired about the venue of the fast and went to Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park at Arya Samaj Chowk. He gave a glass of fruit juice to Rohit Sharma to break his fast.