In a revelation that can give jitters to protesting parents, only 70 schools of the total 753 in Jalandhar district are recognised by the education department.
According to information received from the education department, the private schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) had to apply for recognition with the department after March 31, 2015. The schools were given recognition from 2013-2015.
The recognition is given to schools according to the Right to Education (RTE) Act norms. The norms include infrastructure of the school, teachers that have qualified teacher eligibility test (TET), teacher-students ration of 1:40, if the schools are working under any society, transportation, playgrounds, building safety certificate by public works department etc.
Sources said only 70 schools in the district have recruited TET teachers. Most of the schools are also not adhering to the teacher-student ratio of 1:40.
Officials from the department who check if the schools follow the norms said the schools mostly argue with them that they have NTT (nursery teacher training) qualified teachers but they do not understand that kindergarten classes do not come under the RTE Act and only TET or BEd teachers are required as per the norms.
Schools paying no tax
A majority of schools are working under a society or charitable trust to enjoy benefits from the government. Thus, they do not pay income tax or value added tax (VAT) on books and uniforms. As per Sections 11, 12 and 13 of the Income Tax Act, the income of a charitable trust or a society under whose aegis these schools run is exempted.
The schools claim to do charity by providing education, but the very essential of the word ‘charitable’ which means for the benefit of public at large is not being followed by the schools as they continue to loot the students and parents.
One of the parents said: “Schools take exemption by saying that they are doing charity, but this is not charity, they are looting us. Most of the schools have taken land on lease from the government. Still, they make huge profits by robbing the students by taking charges under different heads.
191 schools closed down since 2011
A total of 191 schools have been closed down since 2011 for not adhering to the RTE norms. Sources said that following ongoing protest against private schools, three schools managements have recently closed down their institutions in the city.