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SRINAGAR: There's no end to fleecing of parents by most of the private schools in Srinagar city, with authorities looking the other way. Education, parents say, has become a business enterprise as admitting a child in any private school is an uphill task. Under the garb of admissions, private schools make a fortune every year. Many parents in Srinagar while talking to News agency Press Trust of Kashmir said “giving education to their children has become an expensive affair with each passing day”.

They said “open loot by private schools is going on unchecked, which shows failure of the state government as well as the Education department”. Parents also said it's no secret that most of the private schools in the state have a nexus with the book Sellers as well as the uniform makers as they get a huge commission as parents have to purchase these items from the prescribed booksellers and uniform sells.

"We parents have no choice as schools tie up with the vendors of books and uniforms. Majority of parents have bought the items knowing that they are paying extra bucks," said a parent. She also alleged that private schools' managements are very clever as the parents have to buy the prescribed books and uninforms from particular shops only as they are not available at anywhere else.

"This shows that middle class as well as poor families have no right to send their children to good private institutes. School managements also tend to make minor changes to the uniform so that the parents are forced to buy new uniform every year. Some schools have two or three uniform sets for each week. This is simply a loot by the schools," the parent said. Meanwhile Director School Education Kashmir few days ago issued a circular instructing all private recognised schools to desist from compelling the parents for purchasing books and uniforms from any particular shop.

According to the circular, it had come to the notice of Directorate that some private recognised schools are indulging in selling books and uniforms and even parents are being forced to purchase books from some specific private shops, which is against the instructions already issued on the subject. Taking cognisance of the matter the circular has instructed such schools to desist from this practice.

The DSEK has instructed the schools to provide wider choice for the parents for purchase of books and uniforms by following the open market mechanism. “No book with labelled/stamped price shall be allowed to be sold in the market. Any deviation from these instructions, if noticed, shall be viewed seriously and action will be taken as per the provisions of the law which may include de-recognition/withdrawal of NOC also,” the circular reads.

The DSEK has directed all CEOs to constitute special monitoring teams to verify the complaints received on account of sale of books and uniforms by the schools or pressing parents for purchase from any particular shop. The CEOs have been asked to submit action taken in this regard on weekly basis.

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