Govt gives private schools till 31 Mar to complete paperwork and meet prescribed guidelines

Gangtok, 09 Dec:

Additional Chief Secretary, GP Upadhyaya, today chaired a meeting with Directors and other senior officers of Education Department to “take a call” on directions passed Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang [Golay] regarding privately-operated schools in Sikkim, an official press release informs.

The CM, it may be recalled, in his address on Children’s Day recently, had announced that private schools which do not fulfill NCTE norms, or do not have qualified and trained teachers, or lack facilities required as per the Right to Education Act or have curriculum as per the National Curriculum Framework and NCERT guidelines, will be closed down.

The meeting of the Education Department took note that many of the private schools were running without registration, recognition or whose registration’s with the Department had lapsed and did not meet criteria required under the norms of National Council of Teacher Education (NCTE), Right to Education Act (RTE Act) of 2009, Sikkim Education Act, 2005 and Sikkim Education Rules, 2008.

The meeting decided to serve a notice to all such private institutes/schools in Sikkim to get themselves registered, recognized or renewed with the Registration Cell of Education Department by 31 March, 2020. Institutions which fail to meet the deadline will invite penal action, including closure and fines as per the legal provisions of the RTE Act, 2009.

It is also noted that there are also many registered private schools which have not obtained recognition from the Education Department even though it is stipulated under the RTE Act, 2009 and do not meet the requirements such as recruitment of only professionally trained teachers.

These schools are also being given time till 31 March to meet the requirements stipulated under Acts and Rules in operation. All private institutions which are still not recognized and found to be in operation after the 31 March deadline will be liable for stringent action which could include closure, the release warns.

Section 18 of the RTE Act, 2009 stipulates that ‘No school to be established without obtaining certificate of recognition.’

Further, the meeting also discussed the announcement of the CM regarding ICDS Centres operating from rented accommodations and of how they need to be shifted to schools for proper transition. In this matter, the meeting was informed that the Department has already been working on the matter and soon it will map schools and ICDS Centres operating from private houses for co-location with the schools. This will be done in convergence with the Department of Social Justice and Welfare.

The Department is also in the process of notifying the Directorate of Primary Education [created in 2013] as Directorate of Elementary Education in order to meet and conform with the requirements and carry out the provisions of the RTE Act.

The meeting also decided to organise an education conclave for the recognised private schools and their teachers to orient them about examination and assessment systems, text-books, school bag policy, school safety plans, syllabus & curriculum as per the National Curriculum Framework 2005, and especially on the provisions of the Right to Education Act and the concept of Education as a Fundamental Right.