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Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Unrecognised schools in Chandigarh on brink of closure

ina Mishra

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15

Students of unrecognised schools in the city are left to their own fate due to the Covid-19 pandemic as neither can they afford online classes nor can they go to schools. Unrecognised schools, on the other hand, are facing financial crisis and on the brink of closure.

There are over 20,000 such students enrolled in 91 unrecognised schools of Chandigarh. A majority of these schools are in the peripheral areas of the city, including Mauli Jagran, Maloya, Hallo Majra, Dadu Majra and Dhanas.

VB Kapil, president, Rural Education Welfare Association, said, "More than 50 per cent students enrolled in our schools have migrated to others states and have not yet returned. The remaining have no money to buy smart phones for online classes. Their parents are also labourers, who don't have much work left due to the pandemic."

Sarita, mother of a child, who studies in Dhanas-based school said, "My child has not studied for the past eight months as we do not have a smart phone and neither have we paid school fee. Schools are closed due to the pandemic. So, I can't send my child to school."

Around 80% schools are upto primary level (till Class VIII). On average, these schools charge an annual fee of over Rs6,000 per child and are running pre-nursery to Class XII.

"Only 10 to 30 per cent students are able to pay their monthly fee. Due to this, owners of unrecognised schools are finding it difficult to pay salaries to teachers and rent of buildings. So many schools are on the brink of closure," Kapil added.

Last year, the UT Education Department had chalked out a plan according to which over 3,340 students from 37 unrecognised schools were to be adjusted in government schools of the city while 15,899 pupils from other 54 unrecognised schools could have been left out.

The department had also 'named and shamed' 91 unrecognised schools, along with their addresses, in the public domain. An inspection of these schools carried out by the department had revealed that they lacked fire safety measures, proper ventilation, playground and other amenities.

While final decision on these schools is yet to be taken by the UT Education Department, unrecognised institutions are demanding recognition for those, which fulfil safety norms.

"Our students, who have shifted to other states, are facing problems in getting admission in other schools. They don't have proper school leaving certificates. We request the Administration to give recognition to us based on the inspection carried out last year," said Kapil.

from The Tribune

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