The future of 959 students of St Mary’s School in Mazgaon is at stake after the state School Education Department derecognised Classes V to X. The order was passed by Mumbai’s Deputy Director of School Education on Tuesday.
Following reports of alleged irregularities in the school and charges of violating rules of the Education Department, a showcause notice was issued to the school on March 30, following which hearings were scheduled in the matter. However, according to officials of the Deputy Director’s office, the school authorities, including the principal, failed to turn up for the hearing on four occasions. “A day before each hearing, we received a letter from the school stating that the principal is hospitalised and will not be able to attend the hearing. Neither the principal nor any representative from the school attended the hearing. Hence, the order of derecognition was passed on Tuesday,” said the Assistant Director of School Education.
The order further states that the school management has to transfer the students to another school nearby and make sure all of them are accommodated before the next academic year begins.
The school management said the derecognition was motivated by vested interests. Father Baptist Pinto, the principal, said: “The management is being harassed because of people with vested interests having political connections. The SSC section is aided by the state. However, since the academic year 2004, not a single penny has been released by the Education Department towards non-salary grants. The order has been deliberately passed to jeopardise a recognised, private and minority educational institution of repute. We will appeal to the Director of Education.”
St.Marys is a minority catholic institution.The order derecognising the institution means that 1000 students will have to seek admission in some other school.The School must be charging hardly any fees if one compares the fees of other similar schools in Mumbai.
In the recent past there have been instances when the principal and manager of St.Elias School had also had to move court as it was alleged that capitation fees were being collected.It is surprising how the Archdiocese Board of Education which controls more than 150 schools in the city has not advised them as to how the fees are to be collected if not PTA approved.In fact smaller schools run by catholics and non catholics know how to collect their fees and in fact are collecting much higher amounts than these schools.
Today there will be hardly 5% catholics in the said school and in most of the other catholics schools across Mumbai City( not the suburbs)so the schools which were primarily mean to benefit catholics and have 50% reservation hardly serves that purpose.If people who benefit the most are so enthusiastic in closing St.Marys School down then the Jesuits should use this as an opportunity to close the said school down and start an old age home or a college since that at least will have more appreciation and will be of more use to the catholic minority community.
Catholic schools across Mumbai should take a call and postpone the re opening of all schools.