Tuesday, December 18, 2012

RTI reveals coaching classes boom in Gujarat without checks

Vadodara: While numerous tuition and coaching classes charging prohibitive tuition fees from desperate parents are mushrooming across the state, Gujarat government has not bothered to put any checks, or demand accountability from these commercial ventures. This has come to light in replies to RTI applications made by city-based activists, Rohit Prajapati and Turpti Shah. 
states like Goa and Bihar have taken steps to place a modicum of governing system in place, Gujarat’s education department has indicated they do not monitor the functioning of the private coaching and tuition classes. The state government seems to encourage the sector of education as an unfettered, unmonitored industry,” claimed Prajapati while addressing media here on Monday. 
    Contending that “private coaching and tuition classes is a profit making industry with no capital investment, no risk, no running cost, no monitoring, no accountability, no recession but only profit”, the NGO alleged that government was withdrawing itself from the basic sector of education and consciously encouraging privatization and commercialization on the pretext of improving education. 
    “When other industries and commercial ventures can have regulations and monitoring system by the government, why should this ‘industry’ be kept out,” they queried. 
    They had asked 13 questions seeking information on, “under which act private coaching and tuition classes in Gujarat state were registered; their names, the owners’ names, teachers’ qualifications, fee charged and the number of students in each class; any notification or rules and regulation for monitoring of these private classes; check on advertisements being issued by these coaching institutes; details of government offices monitoring these institutes; any surprise raids or checks on the institutes; etc., 
    “We also sought copies of minutes of any education department meeting which may have discussed the issue of rise in the number of these private coaching institutes. The department replied that no such meeting had ever taken place. They refused to reply to queries on why monitoring was not happening or whether, any other department was monitoring. They said, they were supposed to provide information and not reply to queries,” Prajapati said.