Karnataka government intensifies drive to shut illegal schools, future of 1 lakh students uncertain

Karnataka government intensifies drive to shut illegal schools, future of 1 lakh students uncertain

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has ordered the unauthorised school where a three-year-old girl was allegedly raped in October to shut down classes and allow students to transfer to other schools. Just as a month-long drive to identify more illegal schools gets underway, the drive is bound to open up a pandora's box with an estimated one lakh students likely to lose their schools.

The infamous Orchid, the International school that wasn't even national, a school that had attracted close to 700 children since it came up one year ago. But a scam that came to light only when another crime - a rape was reported from here. The school has now been told to shut down kindergarten and high school classes as it has no approvals for them.

Commisisoner for Public Instruction Mohd Mohsin said, "Nursery, LKG about 500 students are there, 6th and 7th, there are about 29 students. Lots of parents have already transferred students to neighbouring schools."

Questions about this school also blew the lid off hundreds of schools that have mushroomed across Bangalore without approvals. Rudely woken up, the education dept has begun a month-long campaign to identify illegal schools.

Commenting on the drive Karnataka Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar said, "We will shut schools that are running without valid recognition. I have asked parents to look at recognised school. I have also told recognized schools to admit children. Department officials estimate there are about 2,000 schools running illegally."

Though some private schools have formed a lobby of sorts, saying they are being targeted because they don't follow the Kannada medium that the Karnataka government tries to enforce, it is still no reason to exist without approvals from the Central Boards, which authorities say has been flourishing for the last few years. However, some people feel that if schools are shut in the middle of the academic year, it is students and parents who will suffer the most.

Reacting to the drive Head National Independent Schools' Alliance Rohan Joshi said, "on an average, there are about 250-260 children per school so by that around 3.5 lakh children in the state are going to get affected by such a decision and that definitely is a huge impact if you look at the number itself."

Established CBSE schools say they will go the extra length to accommodate displaced students. CBSE Schools' Association M Srinivasan said, "as a body of CBSE and ICSE schools we will accommodate the children without hassles. Middle of the year, middle of the term, no matter, in the normal course, we won't admit, but because of the situation, we're ready to adjust. Because a genuine question for parents is, where does my child go next?

While both schools and government officials say they are starting the drive armed with a damage-control plan, the move will still lead to an upheaval in the school system.

Read the story on IBN Live website.