Bengaluru: In a decision that could jeopardise the future of tens of thousands of schoolchildren across the state, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar on Wednesday announced that some 1,400 private, unaided schools without valid recognition will be shut. A survey of these schools by the Department of Public Instruction begins on Thursday.
On the logistics involved in accommodating these large number of students - roughly 1.75 lakhs and counting - Mr Rathnakar, suggested that they could be admitted to government schools, although almost all of these schools are notorious for their sub-standard quality of education, lack of facilities and absence of teachers. The minister said, "The DPI drive will cover all the 204 education blocks in the state. Erring private schools will be listed first and then closed down as per the State Education Act. Criminal cases, under Section 420 for cheating, will be booked against the managements."
The minister's other plan? Amend the Karnataka Education Act 1992 to bring all-India CBSE and ICSE schools under the ambit of the state government. The CBSE board only recently announced that approvals by local state governments are not necessary for schools running under its affiliation! On the plight of parents, who have paid lakhs of rupees in fees to educate their children in these "quality private schools", the minister squarely put the blame on the parents. "When they send their children to private unaided schools, they are well aware of the fact that there is always a ‘half-risk’ (sic) of affiliations, recognition and other issues," he said.
While stating that "not a single government school faces issues related to recognition," Mr Rathnakar's most shocking claim was this "one should not underestimate the facilities available at government schools." On managements running different syllabi in various branches of schools under a single no-objection certificate, Mr Rathnakar said, “A detailed inquiry is necessary and our officers will file a report. In many cases, ownerships of schools have changed, but the records have not been updated, and no fresh approvals sought. We will look into this and several other issues.”