At least 33 illegal schools in the district of the 58 that were sent notices to shut down six months ago continue to function unabashedly, Smita Gaud, primary education officer of Kolhapur Zilla Parishad, said on Thursday.
These schools function without any government sanction or mandatory permissions. Gaud said the first notice was sent on April 9.
"Kolhapur district had 34 primary and 24 secondary illegal schools till June. Of these 22 primary and 11 secondary schools still have not shut their operations despite an official notice from the Kolhapur Zilla Parishad (ZP) in June," she added.
The ZP's education department had imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on 18 illegal high schools operating in the district as a warning to the others. The schools were told to wind up and deposit the fine amount or face a criminal case.
Gaud said written orders to file cases against the erring institutions were yet to arrive. Under such circumstances, the department was toothless to take any action at present, she added.
"Even though we have been told to lodge criminal complaints against such institutes, we have not received any written orders. It is holding us back from initiating any action," she said.
Many schools avert closure by applying as a self-financed institutes. There have been several instances of illegal schools getting approved by the school education department through this process, said Gaud.
Last year, the state government had allowed over 2,000 self-financed schools across the state to function. Of these Kolhapur division had more than 250 schools. "We have conveyed the illegal status of many educational institutes to the state education department. But lack of timely action against them creates confusion," Gaud added.
The illegal schools, according to officials, are privately run unaided institutions. The non-recognition or disapproval for failing to produce documents or failing to follow required norms set by the state government make them illegal.
Gaud added block education officers of the 12 talukas of the district have been asked to submit the latest status of illegal schools at a meeting later next week.
According to earlier details published by the education department, most of the illegal schools belonged to the Shirol taluka. There were as many as 10 schools in the Shirol taluka which had been dismissed as illegal, followed by seven each in Hatkangale and Karveer and four in Chandgad. There were three schools each from the Kolhapur city and the Aajra taluka, followed by two schools from Panhala and Shahuwadi taluka and one school each from Kagal and Gadhinglaj taluka.
The list, according to the officials, is yet need to be updated and will be done once the meeting with the block education officers is conducted.
The education department earlier at the beginning of the academic year had appealed parents to be aware of the illegal schools in the district and to avoid admitting their wards in these schools.
Source: The Times of India