Parents associations in Bengaluru warn of protests if school fee cut is revoked
Blurb: Parents have also asked the government to appoint a fee determination committee like in Tamil Nadu and a regulator to look into the issue.
Ever since the Primary and Secondary education Minister S Suresh Kumar announced the order of reduction of fees, the private school associations have been voicing their unhappiness with the order and have been asking the government to roll it back. Meanwhile the Karnataka Private Schools’ Parents’ Associations’ Coordination Committee has urged the government not to give in to pressure being exerted by private schools to revoke the order.
“The school managements are creating an unnecessary ruckus. In a private meeting with the authorities, before the order was announced, they had agreed for the fee cut solution but are now going back on their word. Why are they not approaching the court where they can challenge the decision,” said BN Yoganand, member of the committee for Right to Education students.
Parents have also asked the government to appoint a fee determination committee like in Tamil Nadu and a regulator to look into the issue. The parents have said that they will “hit the streets” if the government order is changed.
Asking the government to take the lead and implement, the association with Voice of Parents-Karnataka Association released a press note. They mentioned in the note that the onus has fallen on parents “to reign in the violating schools by pursuing complaints”. The association demanded separate counters at block education offices to file complaints and an assurance that students will not be affected while the case is on.
“The schools have been using techniques to not implement the order. Some said they don’t have orders, others say they do not fall under the ambit of the state government.,” claimed Yoganand further adding that the welfare of the students has been ignored in the ongoing stir caused by the school managements unnecessarily.
Meanwhile, the school associations have decided to stick to their guns and continue to demand the revocation of the order.
“The government consulting the parents’ demand is not wrong, they should rightfully do so. But they are listening to only one side of the story. Not all schools associated with us have economic backing like the big international or high-end ICSE and CBSE schools do. We want the government to take cognizance of our plight too and we have clearly explained it in the memorandum,” said PT Joseph, the senior Vice president of the Independent Schools’ Federation of India.
While Nooraine Fazal of Inventure Academy said that the government’s order is proving to be detrimental for institutions like theirs where the rapport between teachers, management and the staff have been amicable. “The school teachers need to get together and ask the government to look into their problems. Dragging on the issue will benefit no one, rather, will do more harm,” she said.
Shashi Kumar, General Secretary of KAMS has alleged that they are facing issues with the management of the school and claimed that the government’s stance of asking for a blanket fee cut is entirely wrong when they have increased taxes and given no respite on the same.
Joseph had earlier told TNM that there should be no distinction between total fees and tuition fees. He further added that if schools were only allowed to collect tuition fees and give 30 % concession in that amount, nothing will be left for the schools. Coupled with the implementation of the RTE policy, the schools are struggling financially, he said seeking help from the government to mitigate financial crunch.
The private school associations in Karnataka and the parents of students studying in private schools have been at loggerheads with the onset of the academic year over the issue of fee regulation and had asked the government to intervene in the issue. The parents had already staged agitation three times and took to the streets again in January asking for government intervention in the matter.
The government had announced on January 29 that private schools can collect only 70% of tuition fees and cannot charge fees under any other header, but school managements have been asking the order be revoked, while the parents have accepted the order.
The school management associations have been claiming that they are facing a shortage of finances to stay afloat. They have been demanding grants in lieu of the concession, as well as, demanded waivers on property tax, water bills and payment of students admitted in schools on basis of the right to education quota. They had already submitted a memorandum asking to cap fee cut at 15% but two days later, they demanded that the order be repealed and announced the staging of protest on February 23 in Bengaluru.