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Surat schools fear meltdown may be too hot to handle this summer

The jobless diamond polishers of Surat are waiting for the final school exams of their children to get over so that they can move to their native villages in north Gujarat and Saurashtra.

Written by Kamaal Saiyed | Surat |
February 23, 2009 2:41:33 am

The jobless diamond polishers of Surat are waiting for the final school exams of their children to get over so that they can move to their native villages in north Gujarat and Saurashtra. This has made the school authorities a worried lot,as they wonder how they will cope up with the situation in the next academic session.

Surat’s diamond units are one of the worst hit export-oriented industries by the global meltdown. A large number of people who had come from north Gujarat and Saurashtra to Surat and worked as diamond cutters have lost their jobs. They are not even in a position to pay their children’s school fees.

Some diamond polishers from Katargam,Varachha and Kapodara areas have already taken leaving certificates of their wards from schools and left for their native places. Now,a large number of workers are waiting for completion of the exams,including board exams before they leave Surat.

Varachha,Katargam and Kapodara areas in Surat have around 140 schools,of which over 100 are non-granted schools. Some schools have already reduced fees for the children of diamond polishers.

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The situation has badly hit the monetary condition of the non-granted schools,as they are finding it difficult to pay the salaries of their teaching and non-teaching staff. Consequently,some schools have reduced the salaries of their staff.

Jaysukh Katheria,president of the non-granted school association,said: “The academic year is about to end and still many students have not paid their fees after the Diwali vacation. The school authorities are finding it difficult to continue the operations in this situation.”

He said the state government needs to do something for the non-granted schools,but the Chief Minister had earlier said that nothing would be given to these schools. “In this situation,the school trustees have to either commit suicide or shut down their schools,” said Katheria.

Rajesh Nakrani,trustee of Navchetan School at Varachha,said that majority of the students in their school were children of diamond cutters and they had not paid their fees for the last three months.

“On humanitarion grounds,we have allowed them to continue their studies and have also planned in such a way that they appear in the final exams. However,we will not issue leaving certificates and result cards to those students who have not paid fees,” he said.

Forecasting that this situation may continue for a few more years,he said: “Once the diamond workers leave for their native places,they will not come back and this may create a crisis for schools here.”

Surat District Education Officer K R Zanzrukia said the authorities were helpless. The situation will improve only when the industry becomes stable again,he added.

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