The Commission directed the school to work with the parents so that students do not suffer.

Baldwin schools should address book issue by June 14 Ktaka child rights commissionFlickr CC-BY-SA 2.0/Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose
news Education Monday, June 04, 2018 - 17:59

The ball is now in the court of the Baldwin Group of Institutions, who, after a hearing held by the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), was given 10 days to resolve the grievances of parents.

This came after the parents whose children study in schools run by the Baldwin group approached various organisations over being charged an exorbitant price for their wards books, and being forced to buy them from a single vendor. They also protested against the lack of a proper booklist and a change in syllabus, among other things.

The parents alleged that they were asked to give demand drafts in favour of a vendor much before the booklist was released. They also pointed out that circulars were issued and entries were made in the diary given by the school to students regarding the payment for books in March. However, school authorities maintain that the list was only released on May 2.

During the hearing held on Monday, headed headed by KSCPCR chairperson Dr Kripa Amar Alva, the representatives of the school were questioned about the basis on which the syllabus was changed for kindergarten to Class 8, and directed the school’s management to address the issue regarding the books within 10 days of the hearing — by June 14.

As per the list of books decided by the school for the upcoming academic year, the school decided to move away NCERT books to those published by the Singapore-based education publication XSEED, among others.

Parents showed that the vendor, who was selling the books, was doing so with the school’s logo, even as the school maintained that they had no knowledge regarding the demand drafts collected by teachers, the vendors or the logos used. To this, the Commission asked the school to file a complaint against the vendor.

During the hearing, it also came to light that the school did not have have a Parent Teacher Association, and nor did they consult parents before they changed the syllabus.

The school, which reopened on Monday, has left parents worried as their children are going to school with no books. To this, the Commission asked the school to resolve the issue of the books with parents within the next ten days so that the students are not affected. When parents raised that they do not want XSEED books at all, the Commission asked the school to address the same. No orders were given by the Commission on Monday.

“If the parents are not happy, they will have to take it back. Parents who had collected the books were afraid that they would not get the money back. But since they are filing an FIR, we should get our money back,” said Murali, one of the parents protesting against the school.

“The management even today says that they don’t know the vendors and if they don’t know the vendors, let them file an FIR. We’ll call the vendors. There are appropriate authorities to get the money back. They can’t run away. We have proven beyond doubt how the nexus between the school and the vendor has happened,” he added.

The parents had protested outside the school’s campus in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on May 21. They had then approached both the education department and the KSCPCR. At present, the District Education Regulatory Authority is looking at the parents’ grievance of the school’s fee being hiked beyond the permissible percentage.

Read: Bengaluru’s Baldwin schools directed to stop sale of books by child rights commission

Also read: Witch-hunt against parent leading fight against Baldwin school? 2 FIRs lodged against him

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