Skip to main content

Lucknow's City Montessori School example of everything that's wrong with private schools

By Sandeep Pandey*
The City Montessori School of Lucknow figures in the Guinness Book of World Records for largest enrollment of 55,000 in a school, although it is not one school but has 18 different branches spread throughout the city. Its founder Jagdish Gandhi has won UNESCO Prize for Peace Education for promoting the universal values of education for peace and tolerance. He also preaches on TV channels.
The school organises many national and international level events including an assembly of mostly retired judges from across the world to promote the idea of World Government. Its academic performance is good in classes X and XII Board examinations as it weeds out the weaker students at Class VIII stage and shifts them to other schools. CMS is an example of possibly every kind of violation of norms that are required to be fulfilled for running private schools.
By not admitting 18, 55 and 296 children belonging to disadvantaged groups and weaker sections under section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education Act 2009 respectively in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 for free education from classes I to VIIIJagdish Gandhi has betrayed his anti-poor or anti-humanitarian character.
The Indira Nagar branch of CMS doesn’t have the required No Objection Certificate from Education Department and Certificate of Land from Revenue Department to obtain affiliation with the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations but has still somehow managed to obtain the ICSE affiliation. Legal notice has been served to CISCE.
This branch has been built without approval of design of building, without permission on a residential land, a demolition order against which is pending for the last 21 years. One of the three plots on which school is run belongs to R.B. Pathak, retired IAS officer, whose house was demolished to build a four storey school building without his permission. The school claims 600 as strength when obtaining the Fire Department NOC, 1,100 on its website and 1,731 in court of law when obtaining stay against demolition.
Only a few of its 18 branches have NOC from Fire Department, a mandatory requirement, remaining functioning without it.
The Gomti Nagar Extension branch of CMS, its latest, also has a case against illegal construction pending in Lucknow Development Authority.
The Jopling Road branch runs from a property belonging to a Bisen family. In 1982 Late VNS Singh Bisen gave the building on a monthly rent to CMS. Before his demise in 1992 he had already initiated a legal case for eviction of CMS after serving a notice to it terminating the rental agreement. Eldest son of family Dr. Sunil Bisen, a Neurosurgeon, is still fighting the legal battle in District Court. 
In 2015 High Court issued a directive for early disposal of case within a year and half. It is more than a year since that period expired.A court appointed official has declared the building unsafe but District Magistrate’s office gave permission to Jagdish Gandhi last year to carry out repairs without informing Dr.Bisen. 
In 1982 monthly fees at school was Rs. 50. Today it has increased by hundred times. In the same time period the rent has increased from Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 5,200, which is deposited in court now. Bisen family is deprived of its property as well as an appropriate rent for over three decades now. It is unclear on what kind of land certificate the Basic Education Officer has accorded recognition to this branch?
The most outrageous revelation is from Chowk branch of CMS. Its Principal for close to 35 years, Sadhna Choodamani, who adopted her husband’s surname Bedi after marriage, has issued receipts on letterhead of CMSof large amounts against loans, from parents and former students, taken by school on interest rates upward of 12%. 
RiteshAgarwal says his father had been giving loan to school since 1992-93 when he studied in class II at this branch. Total deposits of his family to date are Rs. 61 lakhs. Rajesh Agarwal’s family has given loans totalling to Rs. 25 lakhs, Vibhor Baijal’s family 9 lakhs and NC Rastogi 7 lakhs. Including the teachers who can’t speak for fear of losing job, the total amount collected by school is estimated to be in the range of Rs. 25-40 crores. 
Sadhna Bedi was expelled from school on 29 June, 2017 on charges of financial bungling and now Jagdish Gandhi says that since Bedi took away all the money people should file a case against her. The school submitted a complaint to Director General of Police but never registered a FIR against SadhnaBedi for misuse of its letterhead. People who are familiar with the functioning of CMS know that even a small decision of giving concession in fees to any student or which caterer will serve tea or meals in any programme is taken by Jagdish Gandhi himself. 
How is it possible that receipts of lakhs of rupees were being issued by the Principal on official letterhead without his knowledge? Jagdish Gandhi is probably part of the scam but has schemed to make Sadhna Bedi a scapegoat. He has most likely struck a deal with Sadhna and her husband Amarjot Singh Bedi, Principal of prestigious Colvin Tallukedar’s College of city, that in exchange for Sadhna accepting the blame he’ll provide legal help to her. But according to law of contract it is the responsibility of Jagdish Gandhi for all the money involved in this scam and CMS will have to repay all the lenders.
CMS was running a bank from its Chowk branch premises without any permission from RBI. It’ll also attract charge of income tax evasion.
It appears that Jagdish Gandhi has mastered the art of encroaching upon land belonging to others, building illegally without permission or various NOCs, obtaining dubious recognition/affiliation and running schools with mercenary objective. It is only a matter of conjecture of what kind of values children would be imbibing from this school?
When finally action would be takenagainst the illegal operations of CMS, which is extremely difficult as Jagdish Gandhi is known to extend favour by offering concession in fees to children of all influential people - officials, people’s representatives, judges and journalists - or hire ladies in their families as teachers, and the school will be shut down it would jeopardise the future of a large number of students.
---
Source: People's Media Advocacy & Resource Centre (PMARC)

Comments

vasanthanju said…
Most Montessori classrooms are secular in nature, although the Montessori educational method can be integrated successfully into a faith-based program. Montessori schools in Vellore
selva_kumar said…
Thanks for this information. The concept of a play school has nothing to do with academics at all.
Kidscastle School Vellore
sandy said…
Thanks for this blog. Schools have the power of molding a child into a good, hardworking and socially responsible person.
Top schools in Vellore

TRENDING

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."

'First time' since 1970s poverty up 10%, consumer spending down 4%: GoI survey

By Our Representative
In what may prove to be a major embarrassment for the Government of India (GoI), a new official survey, carried out in 207-18, has reportedly said that average consumer spending in India fell by more than 4% the previous six years "primarily driven by slackening rural demand." The survey, "Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India”, carried out by the National Statistical Office (NSO), says that money spent per person in a month fell by 3.7% from Rs 1,501 in 2011-12 to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18.

As fear 'grips' right liberals, Arvind Panagariya, too, would be declared anti-national?

By Rajiv Shah
It is surely well-known by now that India's top people in the power-that-be have been castigating all those who disagree with them as "anti-nationals". Nothing unusual. If till yesterday only "secular liberals", and "left-liberals" were declared anti-national, facts, however, appear to have begun surfacing that, now, guns are being trained against those who could be qualified as right liberals, too. Let me be specific.

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

By Our Representative
“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.
Ashish Patel produced the movie, which has been co-produced three co-producers, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta and Mit Jani, all of whom, interestingly, started their filmmaking journey after becoming Chartered Accountants in 2012.
“Hellaro” is directed by Abhishek Shah, who has been working in Gujarati theatre since the past 17 years as writer, director and actor and has received numerous awards for his plays. He has also worked as a casting director for 12 films.
“Hellaro” is a period drama based in Kutch and has been co-written by Abhishek Shah and Prateek Gupta. Gupta previously received the Best Debut Director Award, along with Mit Jan…