– Sukanya Nandy
Following the Karnataka government’s recent order (January 29) mandating private schools to reduce tuition fees by 30 percent, several private school managements and parents associations have been caught in a tug-of-war.
According to a press release by Voice of Parents – Karnataka Association and Karnataka Private Schools’ Parents Associations Coordination Committee, “The ICSE and CBSE School Managements Associations wanted the parents to approach them on a case to case basis and submit our termination letter/bank, passbook/ pay slip /etc to prove we merit a concession.”
“Why must we bare all, they are in no authority to peep into our finances, they must be subject to scrutiny, audit and approval process on a case by case if any of them have a stake or claim to anything more than 70 percent of the tuition fee ordered by the Govt.,” it read.
Mohamed Shakeel, president, Voice of Parents – Karnataka Association told EducationWorld, “On January 15, the Commissioner of Public Instruction had called a meeting with parents and school management associations. In the meeting, the school management associations had proposed a 15-30 percent fee reduction while we had asked for a larger one. The one approved by the government is 70 percent of the tuition fee only and no other fee is to be collected. But CBSE and ICSE schools are not complying with that order. Some of the school management associations have held a strike on January 23 and have asked the government to revoke the fee order.”
“As of now, we have extended our full support to the government and are ready to pay the fees as asked. If the fee order is revoked, we will protest,” he says adding that schools are dropping children from online classes because parents are not able to pay fees in full.
Chetan Mahadev, member of Voice of Parents Karnataka says, “We are planning to give a written complaint next week to the government with all the request procedures. Schools have not provided any physical classes this year, not used any infrastructure, removed 25 percent of the class teachers and are paying 50-70 percent salaries to the existing teachers. Inspite of all these, they are not ready to reduce the fees. Why do they want to charge full fees?”
Kesari Haravoo, Member of the Karnataka Private Schools’ Parents Associations Coordination Committee Member says, “Even though we had many demands regarding the school fee reduction, all were not met. But we have agreed to the 30 percent school fee reduction for this year. The private school management association is probably not very happy with the order. They are bringing pressure on the government to revise the fee reduction. As parents, we had a financially difficult year and neither children have received the education they should receive in the normal course. We cannot take anything more than a subsidized tuition fee this year. If private school managements wants to go on a strike but then we will oppose a stronger counter-strike.”
Meanwhile, the private school associations have decided to stand their ground on demanding the revocation of the order.
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