A large number of students and parents of St Lowrence Convent School, Geeta Colony, as well as parents members of All India Parents Association today protested outside the office of the Director of Education, Govt of NCT of Delhi, Old Secretariat Building against serious psychological violence on hundreds of innocent children studying in St. Lowrence Convent School by the school authorities in the guise of ‘’Smart Class’’.
With placards in their hands, the protestors shouted slogans against the government and school authorities. The protestors led by social activist and national president of All India Parents Association, Mr Ashok Agarwal, thereafter met the Director of Education and apprised him of the blatant discrimination taking place in the school. Mr Agarwal also submitted a detailed memorandum in the matter and sought immediate action against the school in the matter.
According to Mr Agarwal, the school has increased the fees in the mid-session in the guise of Smart Class in clear violation of Section
17 of Delhi School Education Act, 1973 as the school has not obtained prior permission from DOE for increasing the fees. Moreover, when the parents objected to the illegal action of the school, the school resorted to discriminate their wards by separating their classes. Even 41 EWS students were not spared by the school as they were declined the facility of EDUCOMP as they were unable to meet the demand of the school. They were also unjustly separated by other students.
Narrating the humiliation, harassment and discrimination by the management and school authorities of St Lowrence Convent School, the children and their parents said they have been completely traumatized; and if no immediate action is taken to check it would leave a permanent scar on the innocent minds.
According to the memorandum submitted to the Director of Education, some glaring facts relating to the case are as follows:
(i) The school has implemented a new "Smart Class" program and is
charging Rs 400/- per month per student. And from 17.10.2011 onwards
school has divided (DISCRIMINATED) students as "EDUCOMP STUDENTS" and
"NON-EDUCOMP STUDENTS." Therefore, those students who have not paid
this "Smart Class" Charges are not allowed to sit with their
classmates for merely Rs. 400/. This is despite the fact that all
students have already paid their Quarterly Fee of approx. Rs. 8,500.
(ii) The school authorities have gone to the extent of dividing
(discriminating) non-educomp students’ classes in different rooms and
even teachers, sections and their classmates have been changed.
(iii) This sudden discriminatory change in the middle of the session
will not just make the children unable to concentrate in their studies
but will have a serious negative psychological impact on their
(iv) As many as 500-odd students have not paid this Smart Class Charges.
(v) This Educomp charge itself is on the higher side. The school has
Educomp as their Official Partner in this project. On the website of
Educomp it is clearly mentioned that Smart Class Charges are between
Rs 100-150 per student per month.
The memorandum further stated that the aforesaid action on the part of the school
tantamount to commercialization of Education. It is all greed on the
part of the school which has resulted in exploitation of hapless
parents/students. Apart from that, the same is in clear violation of
Section 17 of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act,
2009 which prohibits physical punishment and mental harassment to
child. Moreover, the same amounts to cruelty to child and attracts
punishment under Section 23 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection
of Children) Act, 2000. U.S. Supreme Court in
case of Brown v. Board of Education 347 U.S. 283 (1954) where it has
been held that “separate education facilities are inherently unequal”
and thus, violate the doctrine of equality