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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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.