The UT education department has issued notices to 95 schools, giving them last chance to apply for recognition. In case, the schools fail to pay heed to the directive, they would be presumed to be ‘unrecognised’ as per provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
The letter was issued to the school authorities on March 15, in which they have been directed to fill Form No. 1 attached with the notice. The schools have been given time till March 22, soon after which department officials will scan their documents to see whether the institutes fulfil RTE norms.
The department will then inspect these schools to make sure they fulfil basic norms under the RTE Act and those prescribed by the UT administration (see box). The school heads are required to submit a self-declaration, stating that their school is complying with the standards specified in the schedule of the 2009 legislation.
The form also seeks detailed information about the medium of instruction, ownership of the school building, its location (whether it is situated in a residential area or is a commercial plot), total area, number of classrooms, number of children enrolled and number of children belonging to the economically weaker section. A separate form also seeks information regarding other facilities, including sports and play equipment, type of drinking water facility, sanitary conditions, type of urinals besides particulars of the teaching staff.
A senior official of the education department said: “We have added intricate details in the form, so that the school authorities don’t take it easy and provide all the necessary information. They should be open to furnish such reports as required by the district education officer from time to time.”
District education officer Rubinderjit Singh Brar said: “Since we had received information that some of these unrecognised schools were actually doing a decent job and were following most norms, we are giving them another chance to apply for recognition. However, we will be very strict while issuing the certificate. The guidelines have to be adhered to, to the fullest. No leniency will be observed.”
The case of recognition of seven schools had been rejected after the inspection by a committee under the RTE Act 2009 last year in July.
The move comes in the backdrop of the decision taken by the UT to gradually shut down unrecognised schools in the city so as to secure future of the children studying there. After HT highlighted the plight of students studying in unsafe buildings and in schools that lacked affiliation with any board, the former UT adviser as well as education secretary had taken up the matter during the budget meeting, saying that parents of students studying in these schools needed to be made aware of the disadvantages so as to convince them to shift to government schools.
Teachers of various government schools were also issued instructions to carry out pre-child mapping to help spread awareness. However, a teacher of the Sarangpur government school told HT that the directions had been put on hold till further orders of the department. This is when the unrecognised schools were issued the notices.