DSEK Warns Private Schools of Kashmir

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DSEK Warns Private Schools for Compelling Parents to Buy Textbooks and Uniforms from Selected Shops

Srinagar, Apr 07 (PK): The School Education Department has issued a warning to recognized private schools in Kashmir for compelling and recommending parents to purchase textbooks, stationery items, and school uniforms from a particular shop.

The Director of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has issued a circular stating that the directorate has received numerous complaints against private schools regarding the practice of recommending a specific shop for purchases, which has raised concerns among parents and the society at large.

The circular further stated that the books prescribed by these schools should be available in the open market, and there have been complaints from parents regarding the unnecessary burden of excessive books being prescribed for primary classes, which hampers the creativity and development of students as envisioned in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

In addition, some private schools are pressurizing parents to purchase extra books for classes 6th, 7th, and 8th, in addition to the books prescribed by JKBOSE, which goes against the recommendations of the NEP 2020 for age-appropriate and burden-free learning. The circular emphasized that subjects such as Computer Studies, Moral Education, and General Knowledge should be infused across subject areas and activities in the school without additional textbooks, in accordance with the School Bag Policy 2020.

The DSEK stated that schools prescribing additional books not prescribed by the Board to which they are affiliated are flouting the recommendations and guidelines issued by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education, Government of India, and imposing an extra financial burden on parents. Private schools were instructed to notify the list of subjects and books prescribed by the affiliated Board on their websites and not make any other subject or book mandatory.

The circular also explicitly stated that no school should ask parents to buy books or uniforms from a particular shop and that parents should be given a wider choice to purchase books or uniforms from the open market. Any deviation from these instructions will be viewed seriously, and action will be taken as per the provisions of the law, including the possibility of recognition withdrawal of schools and managing bodies.

The DSEK directed all Chief Education Officers to constitute special monitoring teams to verify complaints regarding the sale of books and uniforms by private schools, prescribing additional books, or pressurizing parents to purchase from a particular shop. Monthly reports on the action taken in this regard should be submitted to the Directorate. The DSEK emphasized that such illegal practices by a few private schools go against ethics, norms, and guidelines issued by the Government, and must be discontinued immediately.

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