Yesterday , an article appeared on page 4 of the DNA newspaper under the heading FIR TROUBLE FOR ST.MARYS SCHOOL.Today the below mentioned article has appeared in the Financial Express.The school has been accused of collecting funds like teachers’ benefit fund, primary teachers’ gratuity fund etc. Some time back another school in Khar was accused of also collecting capitation fees because they were collecting money for gratuity for its teachers.
Yes all of us want our children to be imparted a good education.All of us choose our schools and decide which school is best for our children.If we look around and scan the newspapers at the time of admissions a number of our catholic schools are in the news for all the wrong reasons since certain politicians recommendations have not been accomodated.
We have also read stories of some persons faces being blackened when some of their persons recommended have not been accomodated.Why have the English Medium schools run by the BMC and which these same persons control shut down?The reason given is that there are no students.This shows that our schools impart an education of a much higher standard compared to these schools and hence are much in demand.
Catholics are just 3% in Mumbai.The fact is that in any minority institution including our catholic schools /colleges 50% of the seats are reserved for catholics.This quota is never filled up in most city catholic schools except may be schools in Malad,Borivli and Mira Road.If catholic seats are not filled up , it would mean that the beneficaries of these seats are non catholics.
I happened to ask one of the constables who came to me for admission that why does he want admission in a catholic school in Worli when his elder son was already in a school in Dadar.His answer was that the school in Dadar charges fees of Rs.24,000/- a year where as the school in Worli charges just Rs.600 per month.The fact is that our fees are one of the lowest in Mumbai and yet we are having problems.
To become a teacher in any secondary school one has to be a double graduate.What does a teacher earn by way of wages? Rs.15,000/-.
If teachers do not get gratuity who will want to be a teacher? Today a person who has passed his 12th Standard gets a salary of 20-25,000/- in a call centre.It is natural that fewer and fewer persons will opt to become teachers and the quality of education in our schools is bound to fall.People do not want their children to go to BMC schools and yet are reluctant to pay a small sum towards gratuity for the teachers.
Today education has become a business and a number of influential persons have started schools.Check up what their fees and compare it with our catholic schools and one will realise that our catholic schools fees are a fraction of their fees ,yet we never hear of those schools being slapped with cases.The reason being that at the time of the admission undertakings are taken from the parents.The Archdiocesean Board of Education should also conduct workshops and educate the Principals how fees are to be collected and under which head and how it should be passed at the PTA meetings or at the time of admission.If the parents of the student community do not realise our goodness then it is high time that we take a call whether it is worth keeping all our schools open ?
Why should our Principals go through the ordeal of having to be arrested and then having to take anticipatory bail? What happens if their anticipatory bail pleas get rejected? Why should our Principals be put up in a lock up with other criminals ?
Does the catholic community need so many schools ?
Are our schools buying us trouble?
Are our Principals being rewarded for their good work in the educational field with arrest and then having to go to court and face court cases? Is it our Principals jobs to go to Court and stand in the dock as an accused?
In fact all our schools should be shut down for two days to protest against the discrimination meted out to the catholic schools .So also all schools where the catholic student percentage is less than 5% should be shut down and in its place colleges/other institutions which benefit the catholics should be started as this will directly benefit our catholic youth and will also mean less trouble.Buses could be arranged to take care of the balance catholic students who are likely to be affected due to this arrangement.
It is my opinion that 10% of our schools should be shut down and converted into colleges which will directly benefit the catholic youth.
Directives to file FIR against St Mary’s School
According to the education department, it was found that the school had been collecting money from students towards fines and funds like teachers’ benefit fund, primary teachers’ gratuity fund, etc. The school also collected a lifetime membership fee for Parent-Teachers Association.
“Following the directives of the director of school education, we had written to the Byculla police station to register an FIR but it is yet to be filed. We are now consulting our legal department on the issue,” said Balasaheb Mane, education inspector, south zone.
The management had also moved court, in April, against the Director of School Education’s order asking it to refund Rs 1.45 crore collected from parents. “We have moved court against the order passed by theDirector of School Education and a hearing of the same was scheduled on June 19, but the matter was adjourned. We have not received any communication from the education department about the FIR to be filed,” principal Fr Baptist Pinto said.