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DSEK constitutes committees to verify complaints against private schools

Srinagar, Apr 3:  The Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) Wednesday constituted two separate district-level committees to verify the complaints received against the J&K BOSE-affiliated and CBSE-affiliated private schools.

The move comes at a time when complaints are pouring in from parents and other stakeholders against private schools for charging donations and recommending textbooks other than those prescribed by the J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) in violation of set norms.

“Sanction is hereby accorded to the constitution of committees to verify different complaints against private schools in Kashmir division being frequently received at different quarters and appearing on the social media platforms,” the DSEK order reads.

The committee constituted to verify the complaints received against the BOSE-affiliated private schools will comprise the concerned Chief Education Officer (CEO), Cluster Head, and concerned Zonal Education Officer (ZEO).

Similarly, a separate committee for the schools affiliated with CBSE would comprise of concerned Chief Education Officer (CEO), Deputy CEO, and the senior-most Principal to be nominated by the CEO concerned.

“The committees constituted will monitor the private educational institutions and submit reports and recommendations thereof as per J&K School Education Act-2002 to this directorate on fortnightly basis,” the order reads.

However, the parents have termed the move as an eyewash saying that such orders never get implemented on the ground.

“This has not happened for the first time as such committees were constituted at district and zonal level in the past as well. But whenever we registered our complaints against any school, no action was taken,” said Muhammad Faisal, a parent from Baramulla.

The parents said that instead of constituting a committee, the department could take cognisance of the complaints pouring in on social media in the form of videos and initiate action against the erring schools.

“But the department is trying to deviate from it and the constitution of these committees has never proven fruitful for the aggrieved parents,” the parents said.

The BOSE ordered for adoption of a common curriculum in government and private schools stating that an adequate stock of books would be kept available in the markets.

“It has been around a week now since the students joined their new classes but there are no books available at bookshops. The government should have addressed the issue on priority,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, a parent from Srinagar.

“If the BOSE has asked private schools to adopt the J&K Board curriculum, then the books should have been available in the market,” he said.

The parents said that the BOSE textbooks from 1st primary to class 5th were not available in the market while only 80 to 90 percent books of higher classes were available in the market.

“The department should have focused on keeping textbooks available in the market so that the parents do not face any inconvenience,” the parents said.

While the BOSE ordered to follow a common curriculum in government and private schools, the private schools are asking parents to purchase additional textbooks from private publishers as well.

“There is no clarity in it and parents have been left at the receiving end. On one hand, BOSE books are not available in the market and on the other hand, private schools are forcing us to purchase additional textbooks from private publishers,” the parents said.

Amid complaints, the DSEK has convened a meeting with the BOSE as well as CBSE-affiliated private schools on April 4 at the directorate.

The representatives of around 51 recognised private schools across Kashmir have been sent the information to attend the meeting.

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