Saturday, June 16, 2012

‘Controversial’ school not affiliated to CBSE: RTI reply

Deccan Herald: Bangalore: Saturday, June 16, 2012.
The Army Public School, JC Nagar, which is involved in a controversy with parents over fees, is not affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
In reply to an RTI application in April, the CBSE stated that the school was not affiliated to it. The applicant, the parent of a student, asked seven questions to CBSE in his RTI plea
The CBSE provided just a one-line answer to all the questions: No information available as the school is not affiliated. Deccan Herald has a copy of the CBSE reply.
The school, however, says its application for affiliation is “in process”, and hopes to get the affiliation before classes resume on June 25. The school was earlier called the Parachute Regiment School, JC Nagar.
A controversy arose in 2008 when it drastically increased the fees, and refused to allow students who did not pay the revised fees to attend classes. The matter went to the High Court which directed the school to continue with the old fee structure and refund the extra sum.
Giri Kumar, Secretary of the Parachute Regiment School Parents’ Association, alleged that the school changed its name this year just to collect exorbitant fees. “It is supposed to be for children of late Army personnel. But 80 per cent of the students belong to civilian families,” Kumar claimed.
The school raised the monthly fees from Rs 770 to Rs 1,565. But the HC struck it down and directed the school to refund the extra fees collected since 2009. The school, Kumar alleged, collected an additional sum of Rs 600 each from 1,700 students since 2009. It owed nearly Rs four crore to the parents, he said and added that the school had not filed Income Tax returns.
Management version;
The school’s officer-in-charge, Col P M Gopinath, however, denied all allegations. He says the change of name is part of the Army Welfare Education Society’s (AWES) plans to open Army Public Schools across the country. Gopinath said the school had been recognised by the AWES and was awaiting clearance from CBSE. The fee is fixed by AWES, he said.
“We are accountable for each penny,” he told Deccan Herald.
“It’s an unseemly battle. They (the parents) want to pay less than the Army personnel. Do you think we’d risk running the school without (proper) affiliation,” Col Gopinath asked, terming the Association “illegal”. In effect, the school is affiliated to the CBSE, but has to get re-affiliation because of a change in name.