Uncertainty looms over 71 kids’ education as management plans to close pvt school in Madurai

The management is allegedly closing the matriculation school entirely, urging parents to enrol their children in the CBSE school and pay the fees.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

CHENNAI: The academic life of 71 students from LKG to class 7 of a matriculation school in Madurai is hanging by a thread as the management is allegedly planning to shut down the institution. They are also forcing the parents to enrol the students at the CBSE school run by the same management. However, officials stated that the school hasn’t submitted an application for closure.

All the 71 students, hailing from underprivileged families and residing within a one-kilometre radius of the school, were enrolled under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which mandates 25% of seats in private schools reserved for children from economically weaker sections, with the government covering their fees. The students were originally enrolled in the matriculation school in Madurai, which runs adjacent to a CBSE school of the same management.

However, in May 2023, the management allegedly enrolled around 200 students from the school to the CBSE school. Citing renovation works at the Madurai campus, they shifted the remaining 71 studying under the RTE Act to another matriculation school run by them in Sivaganga, which is 30 kilometres away. Though the management initially promised to relocate the students back to Madurai the next academic year, they are allegedly closing the matriculation school entirely, urging parents to enrol their children in the CBSE school and pay the fees.

Following this, parents wrote to the chief minister’s special cell and also the National Child Rights Protection Commission (NCPCR), which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Right to Education Act. NCPCR has instructed the district collector to take action against the school, highlighting the adverse health impacts on children due to long travel distances.

The Chief Education Officer has also written to the Director of Private Schools, calling for action against the school for violating the RTE Act.

The District Education Officer (Private Schools) has demanded an explanation from the school, noting that no application has been received from the school for its closure. Officials from the department said further action will be taken soon.

“The school assured that the children would receive free education until class 8, but they are now employing various tactics to extract fees from the parents. The government must intervene to ensure that these 71 children continue to receive free education,” stated a parent.

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