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Pune: New anti-graft GR irks private schools

GR gives state the power to treat pvt staffers like govt employees in graft cases.

Written by Alifiya Khan | Pune |
January 25, 2017 8:07:51 am
pune, pune news, pune schools, pune education, pune private schools, state interferance in public school, indian express, india news Private schools say the state should stay out of their matters. Express

Already irked by the continuous interference of the state government in their affairs, a new Government Resolution (GR) by the state education department has again riled the private school managements. The GR allows the state to take similar action against any unaided private school staffer, accused of graft, as it has been taking against government employees. Private schools, however, argue that since the government does not pay for their salaries, it should stay out of their matters and allow them to take action against errant staff members.

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Under the GR, the state has entrusted the Directorate of Education with taking action against teaching or non-teaching staff of unaided schools, if there is evidence of misconduct as per the Prevention of Corruption Rules, 1988. In the past, the department was empowered to take action only against the teaching and non-teaching staff of a government or aided school, while private unaided schools were exempted.

Rajendra Singh, President of Federation of Private Unaided Schools Association of Maharashtra, said similar GRs were issued earlier too, which were frivolous in nature. “We will not follow any GR that is issued not conforming to the existing laws of the land. Under no Act or law is the government empowered to take action against a private school staffer and if the GR does not have any legal backing, we don’t think schools will adhere to it. And, as far as graft goes, private schools are very alert and concerned and need no external prodding.”

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Protested the change, principal of a leading SSC school in the city accused the state of overstepping their powers. “We don’t understand the logic. When the state gives no money whatsoever to unaided schools, then who gives them authority over our staff? School managements should be allowed to discipline their staff in a way that they see fit. As far as the government goes, let them look into the complaints against their own staff, who have maximum cases,” he said.

School trustees are also worried that the move might backfire and can be misused by those who have a grudge against a staffer. “Recently, one such case was reported in Osmanabad, where a parent had not paid fees for two students for nearly seven years. When he was asked for it, he went to the anti-corruption bureau and said school authorities were demanding Rs 40,000 as bribe to give a transfer certificate. If there is a rightful implementation of the anti-corruption act, then we have no complaints but if schools are harassed, we will protest,” said Sanjayrao Tayade Patil, Founder President of Maharashtra English School Trustees Association (MESTA).

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