On Thursday, January 5, representatives of National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) – India’s largest congregation of unaided budget private schools – met and presented a charter of demands to the HRD Ministry. The meeting with Anil Swarup, secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, highlighted the demand of active representation of budget private schools (BPS) in the policy making process.
Amongst the issues faced by budget private schools, autonomy of schools, return of Inspector Raj, RTE reimbursement, no detention and teacher’s eligibility took precedence. Voicing his concerns during the meeting, Kulbhushan Sharma, president, NISA said, “Representation of elite private schools and government schools are always ensured while making education policies. But budget private schools which have more than 90 percent stake in education sector are kept away from this process. This is the reason rules go against BPS most of the times.”
Under RTE, the central government funds states to reimburse fee for students from economically weaker sections but in most of the cases, money does not reach the schools. There is a misappropriation of funds at the state level but the parents get an impression that there is something wrong at the school level. If the students are given vouchers, it will bring more transparency and choice to the parents with an added benefit of eliminating one layer, hence causing lesser leakages in the system.
Expressing his concern, Rajesh Malhotra, vice president, NISA and co-ordinator of its Delhi Chapter said, “The RTE prescribes the schools to renew their licenses every 3 years which is forcing the return of Inspector Raj in this sector. We have to make endless rounds to the authorities’ office which is giving more leeway to corruption.”
Commenting on the teacher’s eligibility issue, D. Shashi Kumar, co-ordinator of NISA’s Karnataka Chapter said, “RTE’s provisions are heavily discriminating in its rules and favours government schools and makes teacher eligibility test mandatory only for the private school teachers. Such interference not only mars the independence of private schools but also hampers the quality of education imparted.”
The National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) is a platform that brings together affordable private schools (APS) from across the country to give them a unified voice to address their concerns about regulatory challenges and to facilitate quality improvement in schools.Corporate