Parents of students seeking admissions to Class I at Sheth MA High School, Andheri (West) staged a protest on Tuesday outside the school premises. They alleged that the school has shut admissions in order to close down the state board section and start a private international board.
Parents said the school has shut admissions to Class I of the primary unaided section without any prior notice. The school, founded in 1932, has a primary unaided section till Class IV and secondary aided section from Class V to Class X affiliated to the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE). A parent on request of anonymity said, "In the last two years, admissions to junior and senior kindergarten (Jr KG and Sr KG) were shut consecutively. Now, the school has shut admissions to Class I, citing there are not enough students. It is a false claim as there are several parents waiting to admit their children because this school is affordable, easily accessible and affiliated to the state board."
A source who is a member of the school said, "The school is located at a prime spot close to Andheri railway station and has a five acre plot. The management has been trying to shut the state board school, use the plot for commercial purposes or start a private international school. Hence, they are gradually shutting admissions at the lower level, so that soon there will be no students left to enter the secondary aided section."
The school, which was earlier run by Andheri Education Society, is now being managed by the Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal (SVKM). When questioned about the allegations raised by parents, Amrish Patel, president and trustee of SVKM, said, "I do not know what is happening at the school. The principal should know the matter."
When the Free Press Journal questioned the in-charge principal of the primary unaided section of the school, the in-charge principal said, "I am not authorised to say anything about the matter. The management of the school is authorised to comment."
Mohsin Haider, Congress leader from Andheri, who is supporting parents said, "The current state board school caters to students from economically weak backgrounds. The school management wants to completely close down the state board section and start a new international school. We informed the state School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad on Tuesday about this issue. The minister has directed education officers to look into the matter."