April 1. Punjab government on Saturday announced the setting up of a task force in each district to investigate complaints against private schools.
According to an official statement, the decision was taken by School Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains following several complaints by parents and students that private schools were “looting” them “in the name of books/copies and funds”.
“Taking strict notice of the loot being done by private schools in the name of books and funds, Punjab School Education Minister Harjot Singh Bains has formed a task force to stop this,” it said.
Each task force will have three principals from a district. It will investigate the complaints received by the education minister and submit its report to the regulatory authority, said the statement.
Bains said Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has also received several complaints and the state government will not allow education to become a business.
All work will be in accordance with laws and regulations and violators will not be spared, he said.
He said a few days ago, a letter was issued to the private schools through all the District Education Officers of the state asking them to follow instructions of the school regulatory authority regarding books, copies, and fees, and funds.
Bains said he was surprised to know that private schools were selling class 1 books for Rs 7,000.
He instructed the owners and management of the schools to teach only NCERT books and also submit by April 30 information regarding any increase in fees/funds.
According to the rules, schools in towns have to display the names of three to five shops from where students can buy books outside their buildings while institutions in cities like Ludhiana, Jalandhar, and Amritsar, should exhibit a list of 20 such shops.
The Punjab government had last year said that private schools cannot compel children to buy books, uniforms, or stationery items from select shops.
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