Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 11
The recent penalty imposed by the district consumer forum on FIITJEE, a coaching institute, wherein the complainant attended coaching classes at a Sector 37-based school, has brought forth the “commercial activity” being run by city schools even as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has barred running of entrance exam coaching classes within the school premises.
The Tribune carried out a reality check on a coaching centre, Zetta Career Institute at Sector 34, by posing as an IIT JEE aspirant to unravel how such illegal programmes function at the school level.
Upon visiting the institute, this correspondent was attended by a Zetta counsellor, Anita, who presented this correspondent with a handout of “Two-Year School Contact Programme (SCP)” and said: “Zetta is running the school contact programme with three private schools in the city – New Public School, DC Montessori and Ishwar Singh Dev Samaj School.”
“The school’s role is to provide registration for the Class XII board examination whereas Zetta teachers take care of subjects like physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology at the school itself.”
Asked whether the aspirants can directly approach the aforementioned schools, the counsellor said, “The aspirants have to be sent by the institute itself as there is high vigilance by the CBSE and schools are taking extra care of it. That is why we don’t share the details of the SCP with everyone. Such details are only shared if the aspirant comes through some recommendation.”
This correspondent also visited the schools and spoke to students enrolled by Zetta. A student of Ishwar Singh Dev Samaj School admitted that they studied in the school, but only for preparing for the JEE entrance exam. Teachers also come from outside the school, he said. The Tribune has the recording of all conversation at the coaching centre and also with students of the schools concerned.
What stakeholders say
K Singh, a spokesperson for Zetta, said, “We are doing it for the welfare of students. There is nothing wrong in recommending schools to students if they come to us asking for it.”
Asked, RD Singh, Principal of New Public School, Sector 18, said, “In this case, talk to Zetta officials only.” He refused to comment and did not respond hitherto.
Renu Verma, Principal of DC Montessori School, Mani Majra, said, “We used to run such a programme in the past, but have discontinued it now. We did not find it useful for students.”
The principal of Sumati Kanwar Ishwar Singh Dev Samaj School, Sector 21, was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.
Karnail Singh, CBSE regional officer, said, “We will write to the CBSE office, Delhi, if affiliation bylaws are being violated.”
About the school contact programme
According to Zetta’s handout (a copy is with The Tribune), the school contact programme is the clubbing of schooling and coaching for engineering and medical entrances. The classes are conducted on the school premises during school hours by a Zetta team for students. The programme runs from 8 am to 1 pm. Under the programme, both the institute and the school offer discounted fee. The batch size at each school is 35-40 students.
The fee for the two-year programme is Rs 2,40,000, charged by the institute, and approximately Rs 80,000, charged by the school.
Grave violation, CBSE doesn’t permit it
The CBSE has strictly warned its affiliated schools against running coaching institutes from the school premises. The board said multiple uses of a school building were allowed only for limited purposes, but the school shall not use its building and infrastructure for any commercial activity. “Some schools are organising such a programme by naming it the integrated school programme that teaches both the CBSE syllabus and prepares students for various entrance examinations. Running of such type of classes, with any nomenclature, for commercial purposes violates the basic spirit of the affiliation bylaws of the board,” the board said.
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