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Karnataka school associations allege corruption in education department

Two school organizations in Karnataka have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about corruption in the state education ministry. The new Indian Express reported on Saturday.

The Registered Unaided Private Schools Management Association and the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka wrote separate letters on Friday demanding action against Primary and Secondary Education Minister BC Nagesh.

The letters highlight issues such as the re-recognition of schools, bribe requests by education department officials, certificates of conformity for buildings and fire safety, frequent transfers of teachers, bullying of schools and fomenting of religious affairs, the paper said.

“Sir, we are very sorry to inform you that a few leaders, under your leadership, have not understood the spirit of your functioning,” read the letter from the Registered Unaided Private Schools Management Association, The news minute reported. “They behave like an uncrowned king. The Minister of Education for Primary and Upper Secondary Education of Karnataka is one such.”

The letter also states that the education department has begun a new method of appointing committees of three men who visit schools and demand bribes. The new Indian Express.

“If they are not bribed, they will find gaps and harass the schools,” it claimed.

Lokesh Talikatte, chairman of the association’s Karnataka unit, claimed that the officials are demanding 30% to 40% bribes for various approvals, The news minute reported.

“Twenty percent of the right to education fee is paid by the deputy director of public education,” Talikatte said.

Under Article 12(2) of the Right to Education Act, the government must reimburse all unassisted private schools for reserving 25% of their boarding places for children from the economically weaker groups.

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In a phone call shared by the association, an unidentified official from the bloc’s education bureau is heard asking for a bribe from a school, according to the The news minute who had access to the clip.

Talikatte told the web portal that education department officials are demanding bribes, mainly for paying out entitlement to tuition fees or for renewing school recognition certificates, Talikatte said.

“It has become unfeasible to run schools because the bribes are more than what we earn,” he said The news minute. “The officials say they pay the ministry in lakhs to secure a transfer and they recoup that money by asking us for bribes.”

The association told the prime minister that it has evidence to back up its claims.

The letter written by the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka claimed that “unscientific, irrational, discriminatory and non-compliant standards” have been applied to schools.

“Two different BJP ministers have harmed budget schools instead of schools that commercialize education, allowing more and more investors to settle in, which will directly cost more school fees per child,” the letter added.

Meanwhile, Nagesh urged schools to file complaints with the education department or the Karnataka Lokayukta, The new Indian Express reported.

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