Six private school associations across Karnataka have planned to protest against the state governmentâ€™s decision asking schools to take a 30 per cent cut in the tuition fee and to halt other additional payments, like development fees. Stakeholders of the six associations, comprising school managements, teachers and non-teaching staff, met on Tuesday and demanded that the decision be repealed by February 23, failing which they will launch a protest in Bengaluru.
The associationsâ€™ decision comes two days after they met Medical Education and Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar and submitted a memorandum asking that the fees concession be limited to 15 per cent.
Apart from asking the government to repeal the fee cut, associations have also asked for grants from the government for the non-teaching staff to ease their financial hardships and fill the lacuna created by the lack of funds with the schools, owing to the non-payment of dues and the subsequent fee cut.
Shashi Kumar, the general secretary of Associated Managements of English Medium schools in Karnataka (KAMS), said during the meeting that the government needs to withdraw the order of the blanket fee cut. He added the fee concession should be announced after taking into consideration the financial status of the parents and the school accordingly.
"Obtaining No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from governmental departments like Public Works Department, pertaining to the safety regulations of the infrastructure, is proving cost extensive. With the blanket fee cut, school managements are struggling to resolve the financial crunch. We demand that government issue us a renewal of these certificates as early as possible," he said.
He alleged that schools are not immune from the corrupt practices being carried out by the Block Education Officer (BEO) and Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI)-level officials in the Education Department. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he alleged the malpractices have become â€śatrociousâ€ť and has asked the government to safeguard the schools.
The six associations have also demanded accreditation of infrastructural developments to be made under the safety norms of the Child Safety Act and Department of Women and Child Welfare.
Citing the disruption in studentsâ€™ learning as the reason, the school associations also demanded that like in other states, physical classes for Classes 1 to 5 should resume in Karnataka as well.