Protesting the recent school fee waiver of 25 percent declared by the state government, over 27 parent associations from across the state came together under the Federation of Parents Association, Gujarat, and submitted their demand of 75 percent reduction for not only school, but also college fees.
After a period of one week, the federation met in Ahmedabad on Friday and decided to hold protests and dharnas across the state if the state government doesn’t not respond to their demands.
“The 25 per cent fee reduction that you have just announced has been discussed with parents associations all over Gujarat. Parents are not happy with the decision; it is more beneficial to the administrators than the parents,” the umbrella body of parents associations stated in its representation submitted to Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama.
The federation demanded private schools to put up their expenses and salaries paid to teachers on the notice board. “Many private school administrators have fired teachers and reduced their salaries. Schools should be instructed that details of salaries paid to teachers be placed on the school’s notice board, so that parents are aware whether the administrator pays adequate salaries to teachers from the parents’ fees,” said Umesh Panchal, president of Parents Association, Surat.
Further, it has been suggested that if private schools are indeed short of funds, then the state government should provide financial assistance after verifying the schools’ accounts.
“The state government should announce relief packages for private schools or schemes – like 0 per cent interest loans – what have been offered to industrialists. The government charges education cess and income tax and the education budget lies unused with the state government. If not in such a situation that has come in a 100 years, then when will the government use all this money?” questioned Amit Panchal, president of Wali Swaraj Manch .
The federation has demanded the government to act against private schools that have stopped online education for children who have not paid fees in defiance of the schools’ demands. “Children have been expelled from online classes. Cases of harassing parents are on the rise. We have complained to education officials, but no action has been taken. We demand that a case should be filed against such administrators and legal action should be taken for protection of children’s right to education,” the letter stated.
“Why are rules and conditions applicable for parents every time, but not for the owners of schools that have commercialised education and openly looting parents? We demand the state government to hold a meeting with us and not invite only representatives of parents associations who are in their favour and secretly decide on our behalf,” said Pooja Prajapati, president Parents Ekta Manch, Ahmedabad.
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