Every day since this academic year began, a Bengaluru man has been telling his kids not to worry, and that they will not be removed from school.
Umashankar Prabhu, a resident of the Ramamurthy Nagar area of Bengaluru, alleges that the BNR Memorial school, where his children had studied for the past two years, was fraudulent.
“Last year I started noticing that the school did not use text books which are prescribed under CBSE rules. When I brought this up, they did not pay attention to me,” Umashankar said.
Despite repeated attempts to set things right, he was ignored. He then decided to shift his children to New Baldwin’s International School in TC Palya, which they have been attending since June 1.
“When I asked the (BNR) school for a TC on June 1, they refused to do so until I paid the fees for the current year. I told them that my children had not attended a single class, so I need not pay the fees, but they did not listen,” Umashankar says. The combined fee for both children is Rs 1,60,000.
He then approached the jurisdictional Block Education Officer, KR Puram, who wrote back to the school, stating that the school could only demand dues from the previous year, but not fees for the current year. “They did not care even about this.”
With no reply from the Commission of Public Instruction or the Under Secretary for education to the Government of Karnataka, Umashankar lodged a complaint with the Prime Minister’s Office on June 17.
“When I tracked the complaint, I saw it being transferred to the MHRD, then CBSE, which finally got in touch with me,” he said. On July 1, CBSE said that the school was not affiliated to them. “With this, they closed the matter. If the school is not affiliated with the CBSE, whose job is it to find out under which department the school is functioning?” Umashankar says.
Manager of the school Ramesh Krishnan told The News Minute that the school had not demanded fees for the current academic year. He claimed that the TC was ready but that the school had asked Umashankar to furnish a letter stating which school the children had been admitted to as the BEO required it in order to keep a check on child labour.
Umashankar however, said, “I’ve been going to the school since June 1. They’ve not asked me for such a letter.”
Ramesh said that the school was using text books of one Gulmohar company, which he claimed had been approved by the CBSE.
On the question of the CBSE stating that BNR Memorial School was not affiliated with it, Ramesh first said that he could provide the “code number” which indicated registration with the CBSE. However, later he said: “You come to the school, we will give you all the information you want.”
Umashankar’s children meanwhile, are under pressure. “My children are scared they will have to leave this school. Every day they are asked about the TC. Every day I tell them: ‘It’s going to be fine,” Umashankar says.