The Aam Admi Party, Karnataka and several parents’ associations have called upon the BJP-run-state government to offer financial support to parents after the Karnataka high court ruled that private schools can collect 85 percent of fees for the academic year 2020-21.
Following a protest against the court ruling on September 22 , a ‘Chintana Manthana’ facilitated by AAP was organised in Bengaluru on Sunday which saw the participation of representatives of parents associations and former speaker and Congress party leader KR Ramesh Kumar and state heads of the AAP party.
For the unversed, a single bench of Justice R Devdas of the Karnataka High Court, disposing a batch of petitions by the private unaided schools on September 18, ruled that schools can collect 85 % of the school fee for the previous academic year. This was not in line with a state government order issued in January 2021 which called for a 30 % fee cut.
“In the past, governments have fallen on the issue of onion prices. School fees are a much bigger issue! Not only is it a massive burden on parents in Karnataka but more critically, it concerns their children, their future. Let this government not take the school fees issue lightly or else they will repent,” warned AAP State Convener Prithvi Reddy.
Mohan Dasari, President, AAP Bengaluru, said, “We will take the demands of the parents that we have gathered today to the Education Minister, BC Nagesh, and demand that he brings in a comprehensive plan to support parents in the short term regarding school fees as well as setting up effective School Management Committees and finally, improving government schools as has been done by the AAP Govt in Delhi. Our protest has started and will continue to gain momentum. Hundreds of followers will be joined by thousands and then lakhs and more. Aam Aadmi Party will raise this issue till genuine change is brought about or till this Govt is removed.”
Parents organisations, Samanvaya Samiti and Voice of Parents also expressed their anguish. At a protest organised on September 22, parents sought to know why the government was indifferent towards their suffering.
“A fee determination committee is the need of the hour. Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have it. Why does Karnataka have to make exceptions? Are we scapegoats? We don’t have money to challenge the HC order. The onus lies on the state to wake up and challenge this in a higher court. The case was between the government and private schools. The fact that the state government is silent shows that the government is working hand-in-glove with the private schools’ managements and allowing an irrational hike in fee,” said Chaithra from the Samnvaya Samithi Parents Group who was among the protesters.