Delhi: Private schools can't have monopoly over books, uniforms, says Atishi

Atishi said that the violation of the guidelines on books and uniforms by private schools "will not be tolerated"
Delhi Education Minister Atishi | (Pic: PTI)
Delhi Education Minister Atishi | (Pic: PTI)

Delhi Education Minister Atishi on Friday, April 7, initiated strict guidelines against private schools that force parents of students to buy expensive books and uniforms from specific vendors. The officials of the Education Department have been directed to initiate action against such schools.

Atishi said that the violation of the Education Department's guidelines on books and uniforms by private schools "will not be tolerated". "Private schools must either stop forcing parents to buy books and uniforms from specific sellers or be ready to face severe consequences," she added, as per a report by PTI.

The Education Department issued instructions to schools on March 17 in this regard. It said that a school must issue an immediate notice stating the reasons in case of any complaint. And in case of violation, action will be taken under the relevant provisions of the Delhi School Education Act 1973.

"There have been continuous complaints that private schools are forcing parents to buy expensive books and school uniforms from specific vendors. Recently, some parents also met me and brought this to my notice. Those schools should be identified and strict action should be taken against them," the education minister said.

Atishi added that every parent has the right to obtain proper information about books and uniforms for the upcoming academic session and can arrange them according to their convenience. "The purpose of education should be to build the future of the country, not to earn money," Atishi stated.

What do the guidelines say?
According to the guidelines of the Education Department, private schools must display a class-wise list of books and other study materials on their website before the beginning of the new academic session for the information of parents. Additionally, at least five nearby shops' addresses and phone numbers must be displayed on their websites.

Parents have the freedom to buy these items from any store at their convenience and the school cannot compel them to purchase from a particular vendor, as per the guidelines. They also caution private schools against changing the colour, design or other specifications of school uniforms for at least three years.

Earlier in the day, the Jammu and Kashmir administration also brought out similar directions. Director of School Education Jammu (DSEJ) Ravi Shankar issued a circular directing private schools to desist from compelling parents to purchase textbooks, stationery and uniforms from any particular shop, as per another report by PTI.

It also asked the schools not to charge any fee other than that approved by the fee fixation and regulation committee. The move was taken after Shankar received complaints from parents in this regard.

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