The Delhi School Education (Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Delhi School (Verification of Accounts and Refund of Excess Fee) Bill, 2015, are proving to be a mixed bag, not the least because they are being interpreted very differently by government and others. Both are, however, cause for much protest with student group Krantikari Yuva Sangathan demanding a law for a common schooling system and others planning a protest on Monday .
The bill to amend the 42-year-old Delhi School Education Act, 1973, has already been passed by the Cabinet. Section 10 (1) that required private school teachers to be paid on the same scale as government ones has been replaced with “the salary and allowances payable to, and the terms and conditions of service of employees of recognised private schools shall be such as may be prescribed“ a change lawyer-activist Ashok Agarwal believes will “reduce private school teachers to bonded labour“.
The replacement leaves scope for the government to `prescribe’ and the CM has said the `prescription’ is likely to be a percentage of the revenue to be paid as salaries.
Agarwal `welcomes’ the changes proposed for nursery admissions, mainly because, in his interpretation, they abolish management quota and the points system. The bill redefines entry-level class as “pre-primary or pre-school class for admission of a child below six years of age“ and brings in provisions from the RTE Act to define “screening“ thus: “Method of selection of admission of a child, in preference over another other than a random method“. “Management quota is out; criteria such as alumni, sibling and others are also out; as per this even distance is out“, is how Agarwal sees this. However, is that it will prevent interviews and the government will decide criteria (children of alumni, siblings of students) later.
The bill proposes to drop the phrase “with the previous approval of the Central government“ from Section 28 (1) of the 1973 Act, which is, “The administrator may , with the previous approval of the Centre, and subject to the condition of previous publication, by notification, make rules to carry out the provisions of this Act“.One of the areas the government is given the power to formulate rules on is admission.Screening and capitation fees will invite fines. “The fine will be passed on to the parents.
The bill’s section on offences and penalties allows “imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees but which may extend [to] five lakhs rupees or both“. The DSEAR 1973 originally permitted imprisonment for three months. There are other options –“stoppage of aid“; “imposition of fine“; “order for recovery of amount“ in case of financial fraud; “suspension of admission at any class for a year or with cumulative effect ;taking over the management“; and “withdrawal of recognition.
The panel will cost money for which permission was needed from the LG, but it wasn’t taken; fines will be collected from the school not the management; earlier schools couldn’t charge fees for capital expenditure now they can.
Source: TOI 20 Nov’2015