Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 26
The constant failure of the authorities in monitoring the trend and lack of proper implementation of guidelines has led to the rise of dummy schools across the city.
These schools allow students to enrol in Classes XI and XII, and continue to prepare for competitive exams through coaching outside without having to attend the classes. The attendance of students is completed in accordance with the requirement of the CBSE by the school so as to ensure they can appear in the board exams. At the end of the session, the students of Class XI are promoted to the next class by the school. Those studying in Class XII are allowed to appear for their board exams as enrollees of the school.
And contrary to popular belief, not just children of politicians and senior bureaucrats are the beneficiaries but even those belonging to the upper and middle classes are enrolled in such schools.
Sources say there are more schools in the city than projected that admit students for profit but have failed to attract any action in the absence of a formal complaint, especially against "renowned" schools.
Unfortunately, despite several complaints and cases of dummy schools coming to light, the Chandigarh Administration, the UT Education Department and the CBSE have failed to monitor these.
“After investigations, we forward the cases to the CBSE for action. After taking cognisance of the case, the board goes quiet. I’m not aware if any city school has lost its affiliation because it came out as a dummy school,” said an official of the Education Department, wishing not to be named.
In 2015, the UT Education Department started working on a tracking system to keep tabs on the attendance at schools but the project failed to take off.
Not only this, the department was directed by the Chandigarh Administration to check coaching centres on a regular basis to ensure that students did not attend classes during school hours but it failed to do so.
CBSE norms on attendance
According to the CBSE guidelines, having 75 per cent attendance in school is mandatory for appearing for the final examination and promotion to the next class.
School-coaching centre nexus
Sources say the managements of coaching centres play the role of a facilitator in getting admission to dummy schools for students enrolled for coaching in their institute.
CBSE yet to take action
The Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR), during an inspection in January this year, had found anomalies in admissions to Classes XI and XII at two city schools and had recommended action against the schools to the CBSE. The panel had found that in SD Senior Secondary School, Sector 24-C, and British School, Sector 44, Chandigarh, dummy admissions were made to Classes XI and XII. The CBSE Regional Director, Dr Joseph Emmanuel, said the cases were forwarded to the headquarters for action. However, no action has been taken yet.
In May last year, DC Ajit Balaji Joshi had ordered coaching institutes not to hold classes during school hours — 8 am to 3 pm — in “public interest” for 60 days. Students who had already appeared for the final examinations or passed out of school were exempted. Though it was said action would be taken against the erring coaching centres, nothing concrete was done.
Like last year, this year too, we plan to issue an order against coaching centres in the city to not hold classes during the school hours. — Ajit Balaji Joshi, Deputy Commissioner
The entire concept of dummy schools is wrong. They are money-minting shops destroying the traditional education system and the revered guru-shishya relationship. There is no place for such schools and we have been conducting checks. We plan to conduct more inspections in the coming days. — Harjinder Kaur, chairperson, CCPCR
The CBSE curriculum is amazingly formulated if implemented properly along with the use of latest teaching methodology in schools. The business of dummy schools and coaching centres will stop thriving if our schools become so good that students don’t need coaching anymore. The institutions are just minting money and adding to the burden on parents’ pockets. Apart from that, they are adversely affecting the students by not allowing their holistic development. If students continue to skip classes in favour of coaching, they are bound to miss an important part of education. — Prof Devi Sirohi, former chairperson, CCPCR
Dummy admissions are killing our education system. Students who don’t attend classes in school are deprived of proper education. They may manage to get admission to professional colleges by way of competition exams but they tend to lag behind in their way upwards. We are strictly against dummy schools. We plan to conduct checks if we get complaints against any school. — Dr Joseph Emmanuel, Regional Director, CBSE
A committee comprising the Deputy Commissioner, Director, Higher Education, and Director, School Education, is examining the matter. — Rubinderjit Singh Brar, Director, School Education
Schools don’t prepare students for competitive exams due to which we are forced to send them for coaching. — A parent of a Class XII student