2 school associations allege graft in Karnataka education dept, write to PM Modi

Updated on Aug 28, 2022 12:45 AM IST

The Karnata chapters of the Registered Unaided Private Schools Management Association and the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka shot off separate letters to the Prime Minister on Friday.

Alleging widespread corruption in Karnataka’s education department, two school associations in the state have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded action against primary and secondary education minister BC Nagesh. (ANI)
Alleging widespread corruption in Karnataka’s education department, two school associations in the state have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded action against primary and secondary education minister BC Nagesh. (ANI)
By, Bengaluru

Alleging widespread corruption in Karnataka’s education department, two school associations in the state have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded action against primary and secondary education minister BC Nagesh.

The Karnata chapters of the Registered Unaided Private Schools Management Association and the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka shot off separate letters to the Prime Minister on Friday.

The Karnataka chapters of the two associations represent around 13,000 private schools across the state.

Among the issues highlighted in the letters include demand of bribes by officials of the education department, frequent transfers of teachers, harassment of schools and stoking of religious matters.

“We are very sorry to bring to your kind notice that a few leaders, under your leadership, have failed to understand the spirit of your functioning,” read the letter by the Registered Unaided Private Schools Management Association. “They behave like an uncrowned king. The education minister for primary and higher secondary education of Karnataka is one such.”

The letter also stated that the education department has started a new method of appointing three-member committees that visit schools and demand bribes. “If not bribed, they will find some lacunae and harass the schools,” the letter alleged.

Karnataka, which is being ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government, will go to assembly elections next year. The allegations have come a day after minister Nagesh announced that the national education policy (NEP) 2020 will be implemented in the state from 2023-24 academic year.

“From the next academic year (2023-24) in Karnataka, ‘National Education Policy-2020’ will be implemented and ‘pre-childhood care and education’ for children above 3 years of age will be implemented in 20,000 anganwadis and schools in the state,” Nagesh had said on Thursday.

He had added that Karnataka became the first state to accept and implement the NEP, and it has been constantly trying to iron out any issues within the new framework.

Talking to reporters on Saturday, Lokesh Talikatte, president of the Registered Unaided Private Schools Management Association’s Karnataka unit, said the education department officials demand bribes of up to 30% to 40% for approving funds and projects. “Around 20% of the Right to Education reimbursement fee is taken by the deputy director of public instruction,” claimed Talikatte.

HT has seen the letters.

The association, meanwhile,shared a phone call recording with the media, in which an unidentified education department official is purportedly heard asking for bribe from a school.

“It has become infeasible to run schools as the bribes are more than what we earn,” alleged Talikatte. “The officials say they pay the ministry in lakhs to secure a transfer and they make that money back by asking bribes from us.”

In its letter, the association further told the Prime Minister that it has evidence to back the allegations. The letter alleged that “unscientific, irrational, discriminatory and non-compliant norms” have been applied to schools.

“Two different BJP ministers caused damage to budget schools,” the letter said. “Schools that are commercialising education are allowed more and more investors, which will directly cost more fees per child.”

The Karnataka chapter of Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools, which is comparatively a smaller unit, did not speak with the media.

Responding to the allegations, Nagesh asked the schools to “file complaints with the education department or the Karnataka Lokayukta”.

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