The district education officer, Chandigarh, Viney Sood has issued a circular asking heads of all unaided private schools in the city against instructing the parents of students to buy uniform, stationery and books from particular shops.
The schools have been asked to display lists of books (class-wise) on the notice boards as well as on their websites for the convenience of the parents.
The directions have been issued following some complaints from parents that schools, at the time of admission of the ward, ask them to buy books, stationery and uniform from particular shops, which is illegal as per the regulations of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
In some institutions, there is practice of selling the sets of books and stationery from the school premises, giving no option for the parents to negotiate on price. The prices of such sets are fixed and the parents have to pay without raising a question.
The issue is again on the front burner as the process for the nursery admissions has formally started from Monday The DEO has also directed to all the school heads not to charge more than Rs 100 the fee for registration of applicant students at the time of submission of forms. The circular also states that no other charges should be charged before the completion of the admission process.
Also, the schools have been asked to put a copy of the application form on their websites as well as on the notice board of the school. Parents can use the downloaded forms or their Xerox copies as per their convenience.
Schools to put admission info online
The education department has also specified that all the schools should upload admission-related information — name of the entry class, age criteria, category-wise break up of seats, category-wise admission criteria (general/EWS and disadvantaged groups), documents required and fee structure — on their official websites and also on the notice boards.
After the process of submission of forms is over, schools are required to upload the names of children (category-wise) who have applied for the admission on their websites and those of children selected for admission to the entry-level class.
“It was two years ago when I had got my daughter admitted at St Anne’s school and we were specifically asked to collect books from a particular shop in Sector 19. Why are we burdened in this manner?” - Mukesh Gupta, a parent from Sector 20
“Parents are asked to buy books from a particular shop and on a particular day, which leads to chaos at such shops. Parents have stand in queues. We welcome DEO’s initiative, but whether it will work is yet to be seen.” - Ridhi Kanwal, a parent
“The education department should have issued such guidelines much earlier so that bookstores could have started keeping books of all schools. What if we do not find a book at any of the stores other than the specified one?” -Fareed Hasan, a resident of Sector 48
On the other hand
“UT education department does not have the authority to issue such guidelines to the private unaided schools. I am totally confused over the issue that at one side, there is Supreme Court guidelines about zero interference in the issue of the private schools where as on the other hand, we have this department. We ask the parents to buy books and uniform from a particular shop, keeping in mind the convenience of the parents for they do not have to run from one place to another.” - HS Mamik, president of Independent Schools Association, UT