Gujarat gotra school at center of NEET controversy; Coaching course advertised as guaranteed success in NEET exam

On the outskirts of Godhra, Gujarat, at the crossroads to Dahod and Vadodara, is the multi-storied Jai Jalaram School. Despite being at the center of an all-India inquiry into the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET-UG) question paper leak case, the school is functioning as usual.

This school and a school in Song area of ​​Ketha district run by Jai Jalaram Trust were designated as the centers for the NEET exam held on May 5. According to the CBI investigation, the school’s staff, including principal Purshottam Mahaveer Prasad Sharma and geography teacher Tushar Rajinikanth Bhatt, allegedly tried to help students fill incomplete OMR sheets after the examination, but the attempt was thwarted by information received by authorities in advance.

So far, six people have been arrested in connection with the case, including Jai Jalaram Education Trust chairman Dixit Patel and the school’s former martial arts teacher Arip Vohra, principal Sharma and geography teacher Tushar Bhatt. All 26 parents who allegedly approached the accused to help their children clear NEET are being investigated by the CBI.

Inaugurated in April 2015 by the then Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendra Sudasma, the campus has two schools, one with English as the medium of instruction and the other with Gujarati as the medium of instruction. Both are accredited by the state board, and both schools are staffed by different principals and staff. The two schools have nearly 1,000 students, some of whom travel nearly 60 km from Mahisagar, Panchmahal and Dahot districts to study in English and Gujarati medium schools.

Purshottam Sharma is the Principal of the English Medium School and Ketki Patel is the Principal of the Gujarati Medium School. The CBI has also recorded the statement of Ketki Patel.

‘Truth will prevail’

The tension within the campus is palpable. The reception staff reacted with disgust and Kirti Rawlingam, who introduced herself as the headmistress of the English medium school, expressed her displeasure with our “investigation”, adding that “truth will prevail” in the ongoing CBI investigation. Refusing to share any details about the school, Kirti Rawlingam said the academic sessions of Gujarati and English-medium schools were not affected by the probes.

A school teacher, who did not want to be named, said, “(Despite the NEET controversy) the school was not closed for a single day. Whatever happens (the arrest of Dixit Patel) is a matter for investigation,” he said.

A CBI team is camped at the circuit house in Godhra town. Bhupendra Rana

A resident of Godhra, a class 11 student at Jai Jalaram English Medium School, said, “In their admission advertisements, the school boasts that JEE/NEET training is well integrated with the regular education in the school. They said they provide coaching to students for all competitive exams including commerce students, chartered accountancy. This was a big attraction for most of the parents so that parents don’t have to look for other coaching classes for their kids. That’s why many people preferred this school despite the high fees,” he said.

The parents said that they would pay Rs 1 lakh per annum.

Another Godhra resident said his two children study at Jai Jalaram English medium school, “It is one of the best schools in the region, options elsewhere are very limited. That’s why students from nearby districts travel 1.5 hours by school bus to study here,” he said.

Asked about the recent scandal and its impact on students, he said there was no reason to worry, at least not yet. “The school is running as usual. The investigation has nothing to do with regular academic sessions,” he said.

Connections and functions

In Godhra, Dixit Patel, chairman of the Jai Jalaram Education Trust, is known for his political “connections”. Dikshit Patel personally looked after the administration of the two schools in Parvati and Pathal, Parvati staff said. Following the success of the two schools, her foundation established the Gujarat government’s Gyan Shakti Special School for tribal girl students in Panchmahal’s Vavdi Gurd village earlier this year.

Jai Jalaram Educational Trust is registered at Vanakbori in Ketha District. According to sources, the CBI is also probing the nexus of other staff in the two schools, particularly in the song. Before Covid-19, the trust was running a total of five schools, including three in Anand Nagar, Nadiad and Boriyavi in ​​Gujarat. Although the schools in Anand Nagar, Nadiad and Boriyavi will be handed over to other trusts in 2021, they will continue to retain their old names. In 2021, Parvati and Song schools were transferred to the state board after de-affiliation with CBSE.

The school is located on the outskirts of Godhra in Gujarat. Bhupendra Rana

According to the investigation so far, the accused, including Chief Minister Purshottam Sharma, allegedly instructed the shortlisted candidates to answer only the questions they knew. The remaining questions were left unanswered. Immediately after the exam, Principal Sharma and Geography teacher Bhatt fill the unanswered questions on the OMR sheets and put them in the envelope before sealing it. However, they could not execute their plan.

A district administration official said that following a tip-off about possible irregularities, the Panchmahal District Collector sent two teams of officials to inspect the Godhra centre. “An acquaintance of Patel informed the district administration after an altercation with a student. The student approached (accused) for help to crack NEET under the same procedure. Officials were dispatched just before the end of the exam. That is why the accused could not make changes before sealing the OMR sheets.”

An FIR filed by the Gujarat Police on a complaint filed by District Education Officer Giritkumar Patel alleged that candidates were allegedly charged Rs. It says that the embezzlement attempt was thwarted as geography teacher Bud was cornered with 7 lakhs in cash.