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The state government on Tuesday derecognised the old and respected St Marys School (SSC) in Mazgaon over charges of insufficient infrastructure, unlawful collection of capitation fees besides other violations of norms.
The order passed by the school education departments deputy director has left a question mark over the fate of the 78-year-old institution,which has produced masses of successful alumni, and its about 1,000 students. The management of the Jesuit-run school said it would soon lodge an appeal with the education departments director against his deputy's decision. In his May 24 order, Sunil Chavan, deputy director of the education department, said that the SSC school was derecognised after it failed to provide a convincing reply to its show-cause notice sent. In the March notice, St Marys management was asked to explain, among other things, the wrongful appointment of the principal, manipulated exam results, the collection of Rs. 1.43 crore in capitation fees, the lack of toilets and basic drinking water facilities. The St Marys School run by the Bombay St Marys Society in Mazgaon has been deficient in almost all 11 aspects, the order says. The south Mumbai education inspectors office followed up with the school to meet the requirements for almost two years, but they failed. Since the institution was found violating education department norms, the order adds, the deputy directors office is derecognising the school at the end of the 2010-11 academic year. As things currently stand, the education department move has left St Marys an unauthorised school. The state education board is expected to soon withdraw its affiliation to the school. St Marys management claims that it is being harassed by parties with vested interests. Its principal Father Baptist Pinto said in a statement: The order was passed on frivolous grounds. It has been deliberately passed close to the schools reopening to jeopardize a minority institution of repute. Father Pinto added that the school is planning to appeal before the education departments director against the order. The derecognition is the latest chapter in a row that started about four years ago when a member of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Nanasaheb Kute Patil, complained to the education department about an access fee charged by the school for registering parents in the PTA, something the government prohibits. Thereafter, Patil filed many right to information applications about the school. The schools principal accuses Patil of maligning its reputation because his sons admission was cancelled. In 2009, Patil accused the Mazgaon school of hoarding capitation fees of more than Rs. 1.43 crore on which the education department held a preliminary probe. The case was then sent to the Mumbai polices Economic Offence Wing, but it dismissed the file on the grounds that the accusation was not a criminal offence. As a result, the education department started an inquiry on its own into the capitation fees, holding many hearings that it says the schools representatives did not attend. Meanwhile, Patil filed more complaints against St Marys, which the department followed up with inquiries and found many to be true. Finally, on March 31 this year, the department issued a show-cause notice to the school. In response, St Marys sent three letters with their side of the story, all of which the department found unconvincing. So, on Tuesday, the department derecognised the school. My fight against malpractices has finally reached a logical conclusion, said Patil. It proves that there are some untainted officials in the education department who went ahead and inquired the charges made against a school of such repute.
Courtesy: Times of India
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