There is a storm brewing between private schools in Odisha and the state government. The schools are alleging that the state government is harassing the schools by not issuing No Objection Certificate (NOC) under the pretext of imposing impractical criterion.
Approximately 15,000 schools have organised themselves under the aegis of All Odisha Private School Association (AOPSA) and have threatened to agitate if the government doesn’t heed and fulfil their 12-charter demand. The organisation revealed that the government had stalled more than 5,000 applications of different schools for issue of NOCs, while only 16 schools have managed to successfully get NOCs this year.
"The government has been harassing school managements by not giving NOCs. There is no fixed guideline or rule on the basis of which NOC will be given to a school and the certificate has to be renewed after every eight months. Even schools should be given ample time to fulfil the requirements," said Ajit Kumar Dash, convenor of AOPSA.
Private schools are fed up of refusal by the state government to issue NOC on the grounds that these schools didn’t have trained teachers, mid-day meal, kitchen shed, playground and ramps for physically challenged children. They were also tired of corruption faced regularly at the hands of the block and district level officials who demanded bribes for smooth issue of NOCs and manipulating records.
The AOPSA has blamed the government of being partial towards state-run schools as similar criterion for these schools were relaxed for several years while the government was coming down harshly on private schools. Pointing out to an incident of partisanism, Dash says that the government itself has been training teachers after recruiting them and it expects the private schools to recruit qualified teachers. He pointed out that these tactics by the state government are affecting approximately 50 lakh students who are studying in 15,000 private schools and nearly 5 lakh teachers and staff.
The education department side of the story states that most of these private schools have been found violating norms laid down under the Right to Education Act. Additionally, almost all schools were found violating the most important clause that made it mandatory to reserve 25% seats for children belonging to underprivileged section of the society.
The Director of elementary education, Chudamani Seth says that the state government has already given a couple of month’s time to these schools to fulfil the requirements. Even after the stipulated time, failure to comply will attract penalty or closure of these schools.
* Read the original story by Minati Singha on www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com
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