BENGALURU: Two well-known schools in the city allegedly used spurious certificates to claim minority status and turn away RTE students.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Rathnakar has stalled criminal action against them, although it is two months since the irregularity came to light.
National Public School, Rajajinagar, and National Academy for Learning, Basaveshwarnagar, both run by the same management, refused to comply with their statutory obligations, by telling the government they were linguistic minority institutions.
The story began earlier this year. Given the school’s refusal to take in underprivileged students as stipulated under the Right to Education Act, Mohammed Mohsin, commissioner, Public Instruction, wrote to the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions in January to check the authenticity of their certificates. He received a clear reply from Delhi, saying the certificates were fake.
The commission wrote, “No minority status certificate(s) have been issued to the above mentioned institutions as the case is yet to be heard finally by the commission. In view of the above, the government of Karnataka is requested to take appropriate action against the institutions for producing fake certificates... It is also requested that the Karnataka government may file an appropriate reply before the commission.”
Mohsin then ordered the Block Education Officer (BEO) to file criminal cases against the schools. But Rathnakar asked him not to do anything hasty. In a note on the file, Rathnakar wrote: “The commissioner to place all records before me before taking any... civil or criminal action with respect to petitioner grievances. I will look into the matter.” According to documents with Express, Rathnakar wrote this note on May 13, 2015, two days after the commissioner’s direction to the BEO.
‘Won’t Tell Who’: Dr K P Gopalkrishna, chairman, National Public School, would not reveal any details. “This is a cooked-up story by somebody within the department and I don’t want to name them,” he told Express.
On the charge that the schools had submitted fake certificates, he said, “Our case is before the National Commission for hearing. We have decided not to talk about this and not to take any action. We are ignoring it.” When Express called, Rathnakar defended himself, saying he had heard complaints that some officials were trying to extort money from schools.
“If there is something illegal, we can take action, but not with the intention of extracting money,” he said.
In this case, he said it was his duty to discuss the allegation with officials before initiating action.
School Ducked: Fifteen RTE seats were allotted for 2015-16 at the two institutions. The management initially refused to consider any of them.
After the alleged crime came to the department’s notice, the institutions took in nine students, and rejected six.
Yogananda of the RTE Students Parents Association (RTESTUPA) told Express, “There is a rule saying children for LKG should be between three and four years. But this school has made its own rule, saying they should have completed four years.”
When the children were selected by the department after age verification, how could the school turn them away, he wondered.
The issue has also reached the Karnataka Child Rights Protection Commission.
Following the fake certificate incident, the CM’s office issued an order on June 22, 2015, directing the Bangalore Development Authority to withdraw the civic amenities site given to the National Academy for Learning in Basaveshwarnagar.