Close on the heels of the Karnataka government mandating a 30 percent reduction in school fees for the current academic year, eight private school associations have threatened to strike from February 23 if the government fails to revoke the order.
On Tuesday, February 9, representatives of KAMS, MICSA, School Education Commission, Karnataka Unaided Schools Managements Association, Independent School Federation of India and Management Association of Schools held a meeting to discuss the way forward. They said the government’s order was a retrograde step.
Although some private school associations had submitted a memorandum to the government on Monday suggesting a 15 percent discount in total fees instead of 30 percent, they withdrew that suggestion and instead said the government should withdraw the order completely. The government order says private schools in the state can collect only 70 percent of tuition fees and cannot charge fees under any other head.
“Individual schools should be given the liberty to discuss with needy parents and act as per the situation,” D Shashi Kumar, secretary, Association of Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka told TOI. “Any reduction must be customised instead of a blanket order.”
Meanwhile, managements of Independent CBSE Schools Association, said in a statement: “Schools are the only sector that has not got any package or assistance. In this regard, government of Karnataka should have come up with a plan to assist parents who need financial help. Ordering schools without solid reasoning is unacceptable in a democratic set up.” It added: “Teachers’ salary forms a major part of a school’s expenditure. A reduction of 30 percent tuition fee would result in reduction of more than 30 percent of staff salary.” Associations demanded the government make good the financial losses by schools due to parents’ inability to pay.
They also demanded reopening of schools for classes 1 to 5, tackling corruption at BEO and DDPI levels and putting an end to the continuous harassment of private schools. “Continued closure will affect learning levels,” said Kumar.
Associations also asked the government to withdraw its order seeking NOCs from fire safety department and PWD. “These certificates are not mandatory for any government school. Why are only private schools being targeted? This will only lead to corruption,” he added.
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