Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, June 9
To ensure transparency in the functioning of private educational institutions, the government has decided to bring all private colleges, senior secondary and high schools under the RTI Act 2005 with immediate effect. However, the Act will not cover medical and nursing colleges and schools affiliated to the CBSE and the ICSE.
All private colleges and schools, whether aided or unaided, will come covered under the RTI and they have been directed to appoint public information officers (PIOs) and appellate authorities as provided under the Act.
The idea, regarding bringing private schools and colleges, had been in the pipeline for a long time. Balbir Singh, a resident of Sidhpur in Palampur, had also filed an appeal before the state Chief Information Commission (CIC) on January 5, 2015, regarding the matter.
In an order passed on February 10, 2016, the CIC directed Director of Higher Education Dinkar Burathoki to notify PIOs in all private recognised colleges and high and senior secondary schools to facilitate the people to seek information under the RTI Act. In pursuant to directions issued by the CIC, the Director yesterday declared and designated all headmasters and principals of schools and colleges as Public Information Officers for private schools for the implementation of the RTI Act.
Further, all Deputy Directors of Higher Education of districts will act as First Appellate Authority (FAA) in respect of schools while Additional Director (Higher Education) will be FAA for private colleges.
Dinkar Burathoki said all headmasters/principals of the recognised schools and colleges, including BEd and professional colleges, would be responsible to implement and comply with instructions and provisions relating to the RTI Act 2005.
However, medical and nursing colleges and schools affiliated to the CBSE and the ICSE will not be covered under the notification issued by the government.
While the number of private colleges is 500, the number of schools covered under the notification is in thousands. Inclusion of private colleges and schools under the RTI will go a long way in bringing these institutes in public domain and complaints such as fleecing of students, not recruiting requisite faculty, lack of infrastructure and non-payment of salaries to the staff, etc will be reduced drastically.
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