State stays action against unauthorised schools
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The State School Education and Sports Department has put a stay on a 2010 Government Resolution (GR) that asked authorities to take stringent action against unauthorised schools across Maharashtra under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
Section 18 (5) of the RTE Act states that if schools are operating without the permission of local regulatory authorities or the state government, or if their recognition has been cancelled and they are still operating, they could be fined Rs 1 lakh. Subsequently, if they continue to run without permission/recognition, they could be fined Rs 10,000 per day. Further, criminal proceedings can also be initiated against such schools as this amounts to cheating of students, parents and the school staff. These regulations were specified in the GR issued in 2010. According to J S Saharia, Additional Chief Secretary (school education), a "fresh GR will be issued shortly".
Confirming the stay, a section of the state government authorities said the old GR did not include all aspects of the RTE Act and needed revision. However, another section said several schools have already applied for approval, prompting the government to put a stay on its order.
"The GR had to be in conformity with the RTE Act. However, it did not include certain portions of the Act. They are being incorporated now," said an official from the school education department. However, the official refused to elaborate on the changes likely to be incorporated.
Sources said the problem of unauthorised schools has arisen from the fact that for the last two-three years, the state has not issued any notification giving permission to new schools. "Permissions can be given only if the state issues an advertisement to give approval for opening new schools. Since there has been no such notification in the past few years, the question of giving permission to a new school does not arise," said an official.
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