Close on the heels of de-recognition of Delhi Public School Rohini, comes another withdrawal of recognition. Delhi’s Directorate of Education has allegedly cited violation of fee regulations by city’s famous Banyan Tree School, as the reason for cancelling it’s recognition. The school is also not allowed to take admissions in the upcoming sessions. However the facts on the ground tell a different story and are also contested by many a shocked parents.
As per the TOI report, the officials of the Directorate of Education said that the school has appealed to the lieutenant governor of Delhi, V K Saxena against the order of the withdrawal of recognition. It has also been revealed that based on a 25th January hearing, the order has been reserved. The developments of the same have been ongoing for the past few months, ever since the DOE’s order of September 14, last year.
The school is however allowed to complete the ongoing session of 2022-23 with the recognition but after the current session is over, all the students which study in the Banyan Tree school are to be shifted to nearby schools run by Ramakrishna and Sons Charitable Trust or to government schools located closeby.
The Trust runs various schools but these are mostly located in other cities like Chandigarh, Jaipur, Jagdishpur, Bhopal etc. With no school run by the trust in the vicinity, the only option of shifting students are the government schools in the neighborhood. This has caused alarm in the parent community, many of whom are now questioning the mala fide intentions of Kejriwal Government. It is alleged that Manish Sisodia, just to keep alive his political gimmicks of ‘propping up government schools’ to remain in news round the year, is resorting to such series of actions against privately funded schools in Delhi.
The order said that it was noticed that the authorities of the school were involved in profiteering, capitation and exploitation of parents by charging unwarranted fees. While the School officials could not be reached, many shocked parents have denied these allegations made by the Directorate of Education against the School. A group of parents while discussing about these allegations, admitted that the fees charged by the Banyan Tree School was comparatively much less than schools in the area like the Air Force Bal Bharti School etc. Infact many parents recalled that the School had not increased it’s Tuition Fees for the past almost about 6 to 7 years. One parent while trashing the allegations of the Director of Education even cited the example that the School does not even charge late fees from it’s parent community.
It is alleged that the DOE was forced to take this drastic step of withdrawal of recognition after a group of some 70 to 80 parents headed by a couple of lawyers pestered it to act against the school. Some parents from the same group have even admitted in private to having been fooled and swayed into signing complaints against the school over promises of “No Fee Payment” made by the leaders in this group. This group is alleged to have been coordinating actions against the school, utilizing social media, mostly to avoid fee payments for their wards.
Reacting angrily to these developments, many parents have now come forward questioning the locus standi of the complainant parents and as to why the Directorate of Education did not seek the views of the majority of parents, almost 95%, who never had any complaints against the school.
One of the parent, Dinesh Singh (name changed on request) retorted “This group of 70 parents does not represent the majority. This is a group of parents, almost all of whom are Fee Defaulters and keep inciting other parents in what’s app groups to desist from paying their fees. We pay our fees regularly and have to now bear for the misdeeds of such ungrateful parents as well.”
“The School has some 1500 students studying. If this group of 70 parents were having difficulty in paying their fees, then why don’t they move their children to government schools. Their kids can even have free mid-day meals to enjoy. Why jeopardise the careers of over 1430 students who were happily abiding by all the rules and regulations of a private school”, quipped another parent.
The Banyan Tree School being under the Charitable Trust, also has a huge percentage of students from the Economically Weaker Sections and the Disadvantaged Groups (EWS/DG). Even the Central Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi maintains the education of these economically weaker sections of the society as a thrust area. Almost 30% of the students at the Banyan Tree School comprise of EWS/DG category. Additionally many study under the charitable full-freeship scheme and are not charged any fees. The action of the DOE could further put at stake the future of such a huge number of students.
As more and more parents come to know of the derecognition of the school, the anger against the Directorate of Education is steadily building up. “Everyone knows how difficult it is to get admission anywhere. Where will we take our children now?” remarked one of the parents ruefully.
It’s now only a matter of time, as to what turn the future of these approx 1500 students takes. In the meantime, all eyes remain rivetted on the outcome of the Order from the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.