RP School
Students during the morning Assembly session at RP school in SrinagarTwitter

The department of school education, Kashmir has de-recognised two prominent private schools in downtown Srinagar on September 15.

However, the decision has turned out to be controversial as parents of the schoolchildren claim that it could damage the academic career of their kids. The schools facing the axe are RP School and Green Valley Educational Institute located in Malla Bagh, an area in downtown Srinagar.

Although the reason mentioned by the education department officials behind the de-recognition is the exorbitant fee charged by the school management, a section of the parents allege that the decision by the administration could be a crackdown on schools that are teaching Islamic moral education.

The posts on social media in support of the school administrations have now gone viral. This indicates that the present state administration may be opposed to the idea of teaching Islamic education in valley schools.

Social media users posted pictures of the students offering Namaz (Islamic prayers) and women teachers and students clad in Hijab and Burqa on school premises. They also claimed that the state administration under the garb of exorbitant fees did not want the preaching of Islamic practices among students.

"Fee hikes are a norm in all big schools. But singling out a school where Islamic education in being taught, where zuhr prayer is a must. It is disgraceful. In RP we trust. I am proud I have spent few of my years in RP. My future daughter is going to RP," Aafan Hakak tweeted.

A post which lays down fees sturucture of various eminent schools in the state, which includes Christian missionary schools besides others, said that the two schools which faced de-recognition comparatively charged lesser fees.

"These schools which face the suspension charge only half the amount of montly fees compared to the missionary schools and other elite institutions which are run by affluent people. This is a selective decision and there is a greater design to regulate the religious teachings among students," a parent, under the condition of anonymity, said.

A medico, Masood Rashid whose children are studying in RP School wrote on Fcaebook, "I strongly condemn biased and selective action by DSEK against RP School Malabagh...My children are reading in same school...Fee structure is less than other schools or equal...I want to know who are these self-styled parent association...Who has given them consent...Who made them representatives...These self styled association people are actually extortionists and their only aim is to get extrabenifits for their own children...They usually blackmail school authorities...DSEK and pseudo parent representatives are fully responsible for whatever trauma to out-going students and their parents...."

The Department of school education, Kashmir, has however said in an official statement that the decision is only an initial step in the process of streamlining the private education sector in Kashmir and has appealed to the citizens to bring to the notice of authorities any arbitrary hike in fees by private schools.