In a bid to foster a transparent education system in Uttar Pradesh, the State Information Commission(SIC) has given out a ruling, wherein, all private schools in UP will come under the purview of RTI. Through the order, Information Commissioner of UP, Pramod Kumar Tiwari, has sought the appointment of public information officers in private schools. Educational institutes will now have to compulsorily provide all information sought under Right to Information Act. As per reports, the new resolution is set to bring relief to students and their parents seeking information from private schools, without any hassle.
Public Information Officers to be appointed in Lucknow schools
The State Information Commission (SIC) has ordained the authority of the RTI Act over public schools. The Act is otherwise only applicable to public agencies and as such, no accountability can be demanded from any private organisation. However, the SIC has put all private schools in UP under the purview of the RTI Act.
While the debate regarding whether or not should private schools be under the purview of the RTI Act has run a long course, the SIC Chief has asked the Chief Secretary to instruct the administrators of 2 private schools in Lucknow to facilitate people to get information under the RTI Act, 2005. This directive is a result of an appeal filed by a localite Sanjay Sharma.
Until now, private schools did not have to provide information under the RTI rule as they were not funded by the state. Therefore, they were not liable to present any data or answer any queries of the administration or the public. However, the Supreme Court ruled that if the district development authority provides land to a private school at concessional rates, the school will be considered adequately funded by the state.
Other concessions for school vehicles registered with the state and any financial assistance under the Trust Act, tax rebates and subsidies for electricity and water consumption, pull the private schools under the RTI purview.
What is going to change?
Students and their patents no longer need to run from pillar to post, to seek information from private schools. Any query made regarding the fee structure, school management, child safety and/or accidents will now be answered in the foram to the petitioner on demand, the SIC propounded.
Until now, private agencies had the liberty to exercise their free will in such situations. The new order has imposed a government check on these, easing the life of several concerned parents and guardians who have the right to know about the welfare of the student to ensure an optimum atmosphere of learning and growth.