In a shocking revelation, the Registered Unaided Private School Management Association (RUPSA) has accused the Karnataka education department of corruption. Earlier this year, the road contractors in the state had alleged corruption in the road and transport department. The matter came to light when RUPSA wrote a letter to PM Modi demanding strict action against BC Nagesh, the Primary and Higher Education Minister of Karnataka.
Lokesh Talikatte, President of Karnataka RUPSA, told the media that officials from the education department demand bribes of up to 40% for various approvals. “The Deputy Director of Public Instruction takes 20% of the Right to Education (RTE) reimbursement fee,” he claims.
According to Section 12 (2) of the RTE Act, the government must reimburse all private unaided schools for allocating 25% of their entry-level seats to students from economically disadvantaged groups (EWS/DG). According to the Act, schools that provide free education to students are eligible to be reimbursed for the expenditure incurred per child or the amount charged from the child, whichever is less.
“The Block Education Office (BEO) takes 20% of the fee we have to get from the government,” he said. He claims that corruption has increased because most tasks are now done online. “They have set a price for each authorization or approval,” he says. A BEO official is heard asking a school official for a bribe in a phone call recording shared by RUPSA.
The conversation begins with a voice purportedly belonging to a school official asking about renewal updates. “You were supposed to meet me,” the alleged BEO official responds. The school official says he will deliver ’15’ to the school headmaster.
The conversation continues, even though they do not correctly mention the denomination, with the BEO official demanding ’25’. After some haggling, the BEO official agrees to be paid ’20’.
RUPSA demanded action against BC Nagesh in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, citing the situation as detrimental to expanding Karnataka’s educational system. The letter said, “Sir, we are very sorry to bring to your kind notice that a few leaders, under your leadership, have failed to understand the spirit of your functioning. They behave like an uncrowned king. The Education Minister for Primary and Higher Secondary Education of Karnataka is one such.”
It further said, “You are aware of the effects of COVID-19 on education. Students have suffered due to a lack of education continuously for two years. To add to this, child marriage, child labour etc. creeped in again. Instead of giving attention to such challenging issues, our Education Minister is involved in the controversial issue of textbook revision”.
The letter even added that the Karnataka government has been unable to provide textbooks for schools in the region and even called BC Nagesh a “National Education Policy (NEP) scarecrow.”
According to the letter, “The state government has not allocated any funds for NEP implementation. The responsible Education Minister has simply indulged in loose talks for two years and has become a laughing stock in the society.” Lastly, the letter stated that RUPSA was prepared to provide proof and evidence concerning the abovementioned allegations.
With the rising rampant allegations of corruption in Karnataka, the state government needs to take heed of this immediately and empower the state anti-corruption bureau to take appropriate actions against the guilty and investigate the allegations. Leaders need to step up with their work to curb corruption in the state and work for the betterment of the people and improve governance to ensure transparency. Children are the future of the country and corruption in the state education department hampers the prospects of the students who rely solely on government schools.
References: The News Minute