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HC asks Delhi school, CBSE to respond to pleas challenging curriculum

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The Delhi High Court has directed a private school in the national capital, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led government to file a response on a plea challenging list of books and curriculum taught in the school.

The petition stated that the school’s syllabus was in contrast to that prescribed by the academic authority.

Hearing the plea, Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Delhi government, CBSE, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), and others to reply to the petition filed by the parents of two students through advocates Khagesh B Jha and Shikha Sharma Bagga. The Court has listed the matter for further hearing on August 12.

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The petition has sought to pass an order, writ, or directions for the quashing of the impugned book list and the curriculum taught in the school for those subjects and classes, which is in contrast to that prescribed by the academic authority, and sought enforcement of the directions/orders/circulars issued by Directorate of Education (DOE) for the implementation of Section 29 of RTE Act, 2009 read with CBSE circular dated August 13, 2018, which has been deliberately ignored and violated by the respondent school. The petition sought to direct the respondent DOE/ Ministry of Education to review the textbooks of the private publishers prescribed by the school in consultation of the curriculum committee, as per the recommendation of the affiliating board, “for having no objectionable content, ambiguity, are practicable, holistic, stress-free, less burdensome, thereby are in consonance with the objective of National Curriculum Framework (NCF), National Education Policy (NEP) of uniformity in education as well as School Bag Policy.”

The petition also sought enforcement of the CBSE circular dated August 13, 2018, read with the School Bag Policy, 2020 formulated by the Ministry of Education for stress-free learning of the students as per NCF, 2005, NEP and said that it has been deliberately ignored and violated by the respondent school. The petitioner also sought to quash the online exams circular of the respondent “Richmond Global School in Paschim Vihar” scheduled from May 21, along with the enforcement of the order dated April 21 passed by DOE by declaring vacations in school and postpone the online exams schedule on May 21 and May 28 to the month of July.

The petitioner asked the Court to direct the respondent school to conduct the online classes after vacations as per the Pragyata Guidelines for digital education formulated by the Ministry of Education. The school informed the Court that it will not hold the tests scheduled on May 21 and May 28, which stand postponed until the reopening of the school after the summer vacation, in compliance with the DOE’s circular dated April 21.

The plea further sought to pass an order or direction to the respondent school for not coercing students to purchase and do the work in costly notebooks printed with an emblem of the school only, and to pass an order or direction to the respondent school to publish the list of books prescribed along with the names of the author at the school website as per CBSE by-laws, after seeking permission from DOE prior to prescribing the books to the students, in order to reduce the cost of education. (ANI)

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