The Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) has come up with a draft legislation for prohibiting unfair practices in schools.A copy of the full text of the draft of The Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Schools Bill, 2012 can be downloaded here (~15MB pdf).
I quickly scanned through it and at first glance, the bill seems to be excessively harsh and severe on the schools, although there are some very good clauses too, which could bring about much needed transparency in the functioning of schools.
The proposed draft legislation was to be presented before the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting on November 1st, but Business Standard reports that the CABE Committee meeting for November 1st was postponed due to the change of guard at the Ministry of HRD.
According to a report in Law et al, even before the Government officially published the draft of the bill, the Independent School Federation of India (IFSI) filed a petition in the Delhi High Court on this and the Court has already issued orders on the petition.
Delhi High Court case details:
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) to publish on its website the proposed “Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Schools Bill, 2012" framed by it.
A bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher was today hearing a petition by Independent School Federation of India (ISFI) seeking direction to CABE to give appropriate hearing to all before finalizing penal provisions in the proposed Bill.
ISFI also sought direction to Ministry of Human Resource & Development (HRD) to give appropriate representation to the managements of private schools in the composition of CABE to give their suggestions.
In its petition ISFI has alleged that although CABE gave lip-representation to academicians but no representation is given to private management.
The proposed legislation would be presented before the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting on November 1.
Delhi High Court Case no. W.P.(C) 6857/2012
INDEPENDENT SCHOOL FEDERATION OF INDIA & ANR Vs. THE UNION OF INDIA & ANR
Advocate: SK Chauhan
The orders passed by Justice Rajiv Shakdher have not yet been uploaded on the Delhi High Court website, at the time of writing this post. The next hearing of the case is scheduled for November 5th.
Schools seem to fear that the Government will ride roughshold over their concerns and drive the bill through Parliament without giving them a fair hearing. Hence the pre-emptive petition by ISFI in the Delhi High Court. Though the ISFI has taken up the cudgels on behalf of the schools, correspondents and principals of all private, aided and unaided ought to go through the draft bill and consider the legal and practical implications of the bill, if it becomes law in the proposed form. Various associations of schools across the country would do well to print and mail a copy of the draft bill to each and every school correspondent/principal to ensure they are aware of the bill and can provide their feedback.
There needs to be widespread public debate on the draft bill with the views of schools, teachers, parents and the policy establishment taken into account to improve the draft legislation, before it becomes law.