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Govt tightens noose against private schools over collection of donation for kindergarten admissions

DSEK warns private schools of cancellation of registration
01:02 PM Dec 23, 2023 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
govt tightens noose against private schools over collection of donation for kindergarten admissions
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Srinagar, Dec 23:The J&K School Education Department (SED) tightened its noose against the recognised private schools over collection of capitation fees and subjecting kids to screening test at the time of admissions in kindergarten classes.

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In a latest move, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has warned the private schools to desist  from charging the capitation fee and other non-notified fee besides doing away with conducting screening procedures of children for admission.

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"In case of deviance from any school in this matter, action under rules shall be initiated to the extent of cancellation of registration of the said school," the DSEK circular reads.

The circular instructions have come days after the Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee (FFRC) in its order warned the private schools of CBI probe for collecting admission fee from parents without receipt at the time of kindergarten admission.

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The DSEK has stated that some recognised private schools charge a capitation fee at the time of admission and subject the students and their parents or guardians to screening tests.

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"The section 13 of Right to Education Act 2009 clarifies that no school or person shall, while admitting a child, collect any capitation fee and   subject the child or his or her parents or guardian to any screening procedure," the circular reads.

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The DSEK has warned that any school or person in contravention of the provisions of subsection (a) receives a capitation fee, shall be punishable with fine that may extend to ten times the capitation fee charged.

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"If the school management subjects a child  to  screening procedure, it shall be  punishable with  fine which may extend to   Rs 25000 for the first contravention and Rs 50000 for each subsequent contravention," the DSEK circular reads.

"Capitation fee means any kind of donation, admission fee or  contribution or  payment other than  the   fee notified  by the  school," it reads.

The DSEK has said that the objective of  the  provisions of section  13(1)  read   with  section 2(o) is to ensure  that  schools adopt  non­discriminatory, rational and transparent admission procedures.

"Schools should not subject children and their parents to admission  tests  and  interviews to  decide whether they will admit a child  or  not," it reads.

The DSEK has said that tests and other screening procedures can  only reveal differences in nurturing, rather than any intrinsic differences of the  potential to learn.

"In  such a situation it is the  obligation of the State and society to provide for better nurturing through good  schools for children from poor and disadvantaged sections of  society," the DSEK circular reads.

The DSEK has stated that the availability of equal opportunities  for  children  belonging to  different social and  economic backgrounds will reinforce the  idea  of equality enshrined in  the Constitution and  ensure that children are not discriminated against on the basis of their social and economic background.

"The  Guidelines also emphasise the  importance of moving   towards  composite  classrooms with children from diverse backgrounds, rather than homogenous and  exclusivist schools: heterogeneity and    diversity in classrooms lead to greater inter-learning, respect  for differences, tolerance and creativity," it reads.

The DSEK has however said that various complaints from parents and civil society are pouring in regarding the demand of  admission fee  by  private schools which is "totally against the law of the land and a  punishable offence."

The repeated warnings have been issued as the private schools are readying for the admission process for the kindergarten classes.

"Due to change in the academic session in J&K UT in  conformity with    the academic calendar of the entire nation as per NEP-2020, the admission time in schools should begin in  the month of March and  many schools are flouting this norm as well," DSEK circular reads.

The DSEK has appointed all the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) as nodal officers in their respective jurisdiction to ensure    implementation of these circular instructions in  letter and spirit.

"Also all Joint Directors, Cluster  Heads and Zonal Education Officers shall monitor the  implementation of these circular instructions in  their respective jurisdictions as well," the DSEK circular reads.

A copy of the DSEK circular has been sent to all the school heads to "strictly follow" the above-mentioned instructions.

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