– Sukanya Nandy
Following the educators’ protest on February 23, 2021, in Bengaluru, where several teaching and non-teaching staff of private and public schools in the state took to the streets to protest against the 30 percent fee reduction order of the state government, the parents’ associations have threatened a bigger strike if government revokes the fee order.
The educators’ protest, organised by the Karnataka Private Schools Managements Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff Coordination Committee (KPMTCC) – an umbrella body representing 11 associations of school stakeholders — saw participation of around 50,000 private schools staff.
Talking to EducationWorld, Kesari Haravoo, member of the Karnataka Private Schools’ Parents Associations Coordination Committee says, “The number is not at all important. The kind of demands they are putting forward is unethical and incomprehensible. The management has surely succeeded in roping in the teachers but how can they demand the parents to pay the full fee? There has been no physical classes for more than 9 months now. The school managements claim that they cannot maintain the schools if parents do not pay the fees. But they have reduced the expenditure of the school and have removed some staff and reduced salaries of several others. They are just putting pressure on the government to meet their demands. We will plan for a bigger strike if the fee order is revoked.”
BN Yogananda, general secretary of RTE Students Parents Association (STUPA) says, “We are strictly up for this protest. On January 15, 2021, during the Commissioner’s officers’ meeting, the private school associations and management had agreed to a 20-30 percent tuition fee cut and said they would not be charging any other fees. But now they are changing their statement. Some private schools are now not agreeing to the fee cut, stating that their head offices are in other states and they have not received any such notification The government should not revoke this order. If we take to the streets, there will be lakhs of protestors taking part.”
The parents’ associations have also requested that the special development fee of Rs 2,500 be totally suspended and demanded that any school asking for full fees should submit their audited accounts and fee structure to the government for approval.
Notably, Karnataka primary and secondary education minister S. Suresh Kumar visited the venue of the educators’ protest yesterday and assured a speedy resolution of the fees dispute through another round of meetings with the school managements and parents.
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