Ever since it started, the e-learning school of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has been mired in controversy and invited debates. After the protest over high expenditure and admission process, the school is now being dragged into yet another row over its name, with the civic body and the education board insisting on different names.
The e-learning school near Parvati, the brainchild of Congress corporator Ulhas Bagul, was started by the PMC last year. Though it was praised by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and other ministers, it did not seem to have gone down well with corporators and political parties in the PMC.
The education board has now tabled a proposal before the designated PMC committee for naming the school as Late Rajiv Gandhi Primary School after its general body passed a resolution to that effect. The PMC is already calling it Rajiv Gandhi Academy of e-School.
“The education board has no powers to name any civic school as the infrastructure is set up by the PMC and it has powers to name it,” says Bagul, adding that the school was named during its inauguration and all the procedure for government approval and other formalities was done on that name. Bagul said the civic administration should have informed the education board on the decision taken by the PMC, instead of listing it for discussion in the meeting.
Education board officials, however, don’t agree. “The education board runs the civic school and it has complete powers to name it. We want to name it as per the resolution passed in the general body meeting of the board,” said an official, reasoning that the board felt that calling a school an academy would be wrong.
The resolution was passed during the tenure of the previous education board headed by a Congress leader and the move is being seen as a result of rivalry within the party.
Opposing the project in the past, the rival corporators and political parties had said it was improper to initiate projects that failed to treat civic students as equal.
The expenditure for the school has been many times more than the one in an ordinary civic school due to implementation of latest technology to impart education. However, the good response to the project has led the education board to make budgetary provision for starting four mosr such schools in the city in the next year.
Some corporators had also opposed the eligibility rule for admission to the e-school that allows only students living in the vicinity to take benefit of it. They had argued that the civic school was the property of PMC that belonged to the entire city and hence students from across the city should be given admission in it.