Friday, 28 October 2011

Parents rap Sohar school facilities

MUSCAT: Around 150 parents of Indian SchoolSohar students convened a meeting last week to discuss “several problems” they allege their children are facing at the school and have formed a committee to raise the issues with the higher authorities.

“For the past sometime, the academic and administrative standards of the school have been sliding,” Anandan Pillai, a parent and representative of Parents Association, Indian School Sohar, alleged. “Though some of the parents have been bringing the matter to the notice of the authorities, the school management has not shown any interest in rectifying the problems,” he said.
Other than the main issue of improving the curriculum standards at the school, the parents discussed around 35 other issues at the meeting.

“To start with, most of the teachers of the school are not up to the mark,” a parent alleged. “We, of course, cannot expect to have the best teachers as they would not come at such low salaries. Teachers in the school are paid less than RO225. But to compensate the teachers, the school authorities are allowing anextremely unethical practice — they are openly allowing the teachers to take private tuitions in the school,” he claimed.
“There have been many classes without teachers for more than six months now since many teachers have quit their job.

“As a result, the syllabus is not completed on time and photocopies of relevant topics are given to the students to compensate for lectures,” he further alleged.

The parents also allege that the school has extremely unhygienic upkeep and does not encourage extra-curricular activities. “The children up to XIIth standard are studying in school. But there is no lady janitors for cleaning the bathrooms,” a parent complained.

“We parents are extremely worried as the standard of education being imparted in the school is increasingly sapping out competitive edge of our children,” he said.
At the meeting, the parents also urged the higher authorities to make appointment of teachers transparent and not to punish students severely.

“For the last few years, a person who is not qualified as a teacher is teaching Arabic,” another parent alleged. “Despite many complaints, as the issues are not resolved yet, many parents are now seriously thinking of sending their children back to
India for better education,” the parent added.

When contacted, the school principal, JK Arora, termed the allegations of the parents as baseless.

“We follow India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus here. And the teachers employed here have enough qualifications to work, according to the rules set by the Sultanate’s Ministry of Education,” the principal told Times of Oman.

“When I took charge as principal, there were only a few students studying in the XIth and XIIth standards.

“Slowly, there was an increase. Now, the number of students in class XI is 100 and is 80 in class XII. The number of students has increased and nobody is going back to India. They prefer to continue their studies here, which proves that the quality of education we provide here is good,” the principal explained.

“We produced a number of toppers from our school during the past CBSE exams. Our students are not behind anybody when it comes to the exam results,” he noted.

About the hygiene conditions of the school, the principal said that anybody is welcome to check the hygienic conditions of the school.

“We welcome anyone to come and check the hygiene conditions we have maintained at the school. We never compromise in that,” Arora clarified, rubbishing the allegations.

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