National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), the largest congregation of budget private schools in India, representing over 60000 private unaided schools across 22 states, brought together practitioners, edupreneurs and school association leaders such as Kulbhushan Sharma, President NISA & President Federation of Private Schools Association Haryana; S. Madhusudan, Vice President, Advocacy, NISA & President Hyderabad Telangana Recognized Schools Management Association (TRSMA); Tulasi Prasad, Vice President, Quality & State Chief Spokesperson, Andhra Pradesh Unaided Schools Management Association (APUSMA); Deepak Khaitan, Vice President, Initiatives & President, All Goa Government Recognized Unaided Schools Association (AGGRUSA) and Premchand Deswal, Treasurer, NISA & President Private Land Public Schools Association (PLPS); to reflect upon the discrepancies and shortfalls of the NEP Draft, put forth by the Ministry of Education.
Calling out the government on the NEP draft, national president of the alliance, Shri Kulbhushan Sharma opined that, “extending the powers of SMCs are a direct assault on the freedom and autonomy of private unaided schools, effectively turning SMC’s into an instrument of surveillance and control for the government. Traditionally, private schools have been exempt of SMC’s under the RTE Act. The clause instituting SMC’s across all schools is in direct violation of the TMA Pai Judgment, Article 19 of the constitution and the Society’s Act of 1960. Such a move not only is likely to burden parents, but will likely deter new edupreneurs from starting schools adversely effecting inclusion and diversity in education. So many quality standards are enforced on a teacher but a SMC being constituted to give directives to these teachers and school owners have no delineated quality guidelines.”
Echoing key demand emerging from the symposiums and consultations in several states across the country with key skate holders in education, NISA also demands the draft to be made available in recognised vernacular languages, to ensure inclusion and access to the common public.
Draft also lacks any references to Direct Benefit Transfers/vouchers as a way to increase access to quality schooling. “The average per child expenditure per month in each state should be converted into targeted per child scholarships using the mechanism of Direct Benefit Transfer, presenting an opportunity to strengthen the hands of parents and help put a check on leakages in public funding of schools. Instead of social empowerment, the financial empowerment of the parents is paramount”, elaborated S. Madhusudhan.
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