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With just a few weeks left for the new academic session to begin in schools, parents of Noble High School in Sector 57, Gurgaon, were in for quite a shock on Sunday, March 11. The school, in a surprise meeting called for parents on the school premises, informed them that it was shutting shop as its lease could not be extended. It would hence have to discontinue operations from next year.
“It was shocking for us that suddenly the school had decided to close down operations from the 2018 session,” said Rekha Rathi, a furious parent. “We received a message about a meeting with respective classteachers on Sunday from the school in-charge. We all came here in high spirits, expecting to be apprised of our children’s performances. But what struck us when we arrived was the complete absence of teachers and staff. There was no one around! We waited patiently for hours, and only later got to know that the staff and teachers had been on strike for the past few days, as their salaries had not been paid.”
Sunny Jain, another parent, said, “The meeting was addressed by the school administrator Mr Mishra, and only two teachers were present at the meeting. We were aghast at this sudden news that the school was discontinuing operations. Mishra was unable to handle our queries and another meeting with the school management was fixed on Monday evening.”
Parents said they had already paid the fees for the new academic session and they were at their wit’s end, as admissions in other schools had already closed by now. They felt cheated and helpless in the face of the situation.
But parents said the biggest blow came when the school administrator announced that the group school Presidium would admit all the students of Noble High School – but at the same fee structure that Presidium follows, which is double that of Noble High! Also, Presidium is affiliated to the ICSE board, whereas Noble High was affiliated to CBSE.
“It seems like a pre-planned move by the school,” said Sunil Choudhary, parent of a Class I student. “When we admitted our kids in the school two years ago, did they not know about the expiry of the lease? They didn’t tell us anything about a lease, but rather assured us that our children’s future till Class X was in safe hands. They were even taking admissions till a week back! What is this if not a preplanned move to get all students to move to Presidium, and at almost double the fee structure!”
“We are now waiting for an e-mail confirmation from the school about its plans,” said Rathi. “We have taken videos of the CEO assuring us that the school will continue for at least two more years with the same facilities and infrastructure.”
The CEO, in a video recording, can be seen telling parents that the issue would be resolved soon and that they were trying their best to sort things out. “The school has a lease until 2020, and I will try to extend the lease and shift the school to another building, so operations can run smoothly with the same fee structure. I assure parents that I am concerned about their children too and will ensure that no staff is changed or moved from here,” Matharoo can be heard saying in the video.
But how much water his words hold will only be revealed later.TAGS: Presidium School / Noble High School / Gurgaon / sector 57 / School closure / 400 parents / Parents protest / School lease / Lease expiry / Financial year 2018 / New academic session
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