The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has put up a notice on its website, discouraging parents from paying bribes to school authorities and board officials.
“The primary concern of the board is that parents should not fall prey to such tactics, either for admissions or scholarships. We have put the notice online to make parents aware that they can directly contact us if they are arm-twisted to pay a bribe,” said the CBSE’s PRO Rama Sharma.
With admissions around the corner, parents tend to become desperate about particular schools, said Avnita Bir, principal, R N Podar High School, Santacruz. “The new admission rules (quotas for the underprivileged) under the RTE Act do not help them much. Therefore, some end up relying on touts and pay huge amounts, only to be duped.”
She said a vigilance committee set up by the CBSE receives complaints from parents on bribes and donations. “That parents can now directly contact the chairman of the CBSE with problems related to bribes and donations is a good move.”
The notice states: “If anybody from this (CBSE) office asks for bribe regarding scholarship or any other matter or if you are a victim of corruption in this office, you can complain to the head of the department or the chief vigilance officer.”
Principals of schools in Mumbai said bribery occurs everywhere, but is rampant in Delhi. “Delhi sees a lot of complaints related to bribes and donations during admission time. While we have not heard of such cases in Mumbai, it doesn’t mean they do not happen here,” said a principal.
Activists and education experts said the state board should follow the CBSE’s example. “Complaints by parents against donation are common, as is the demand for bribes in government departments,” said Arundhati Chavan, president, PTA United Forum. “The forum had requested the education department to form a grievance redress cell for parents so that they may directly get in touch with the government with problems. Till date, there’s been no development in this regard.
“Worse, whenever parents go to the education department with complaints, they are not treated well. This has pushed more parents to depend on touts. The government needs to look into this matter.”