A decision of the Bengal government to seek no objection certificates (NOC) from private schools has put several age-old Christian missionary –run institutions in the state in a quandary.
The schools are not able to provide the certificates because the present rule that makes it mandatory to obtain state government NOCs for setting up private schools did not exist when many missionary schools were established in the pre-independence period.
The schools cannot disobey the order asking them to provide a copy of their NOC, as the state government has sent the directive following a recent order of Calcutta High Court instructing the state school education department to prepare a list of private schools containing details related to the institutions including copies of their NOC.
Since the government directive is based on a court order, it is binding on the schools to provide all the information sought by the government, an official of the school education department said.
The said schools include some of the oldest, reputable and most sought-after institutions among parents in Kolkata. They were set up several decades ago when government permission for running private schools was not required.
In the present system that is being practiced after independence, it is mandatory for any individual or organization to get a NOC from the state government for setting up a private school. The boards under which new schools would want to get affiliated can grant recognition to the applicant school only after the state government issues the NOC.
Some of the well-known schools facing the problem include, the La Martiniere schools, St James’, St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, Pratt Memorial, Loreto, Calcutta Girls, Calcutta Boys, the St. Thomas’ schools and many more.
Supriya Dhar the secretary of the two La Martiniere schools said the schools will not be able to provide the NOC as both the schools were established when the system of getting NOC did not exist. The La Martinere for Girls and La Martiniere for Boys, set up in 1836, are affiliated with the ICSE council.
“We have not yet received an official instruction from the government. But we are aware that schools are asked to provide NOC details. Since we don’t have the NOCs , we will not be able to provide the relevant papers. We will send all the remaining details,” Dhar told EducationWorld.
The head of another church-run institution which was set up more than 100 years ago said they are planning to take the opinion of a legal expert in this regard.
The “particulars” that the schools have been asked to submit to the respective district inspector of schools include photocopy of NOC, photocopy of affiliation, memo number and date of affiliation, name of principal and contact number and number of students studying in the school.
The court on August 17 had ordered in connection with a case of a private school: “ The Commissioner of School Education is directed to upload all particulars of the schools affiliated with the CISCE, CBSE and WBBSE in the relevant websites within two weeks from date.”
According to a senior official of the school education department, a notice along with the court order asking the schools to submit the details has been sent to all the private schools immediately after the court passed the order.
But, the official said till Last Friday evening not more than 110 out of the 600 odd private schools have sent the details.
“We are aware that many old schools do not have the NOCs. They can send other particulars that will prove that their recognition is valid,” Sanjay Chattopadhyay, district inspector of Kolkata circle told EducationWorld.News, States