Even as most schools in the city are set to open on Wednesday (June 15), a date decided by state education department, a few of them have resolved to defy the orders and appealed other schools as well to do the same as a symbolic protest against the government’s alleged high-handedness in handling schools as far as reimbursements of Right to Education (RTE) quota admissions and other issues are concerned.
Rajendra Singh, CEO of Priyadarshini Schools, said their first motive was to show to the government that schools were united in their fight. “Secondly, we want to create public awareness about the pressure that the government is bearing on private schools. We want parents to understand what we are going through as they are equal stakeholders. Lastly, since we are educational institutions, we cannot go on strikes but this a peaceful way of putting our message across to the authorities,” he said.
Schools complain that various Acts brought in by the government do not take into account their concerns and cite as examples the RTE for benefit of the underprivileged, Fee Regulation Act for parents’ benefit and Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (MEPS) Act for teachers’ benefit. This, they say, made it difficult to operate private schools.
“The present issue is over RTE reimbursement. As per the Act, per child expenditure by the government in a government school ranges from Rs 45,000 to Rs 96,000. But government has declared Rs 13,474 as reimbursement to private schools. This amount too is not reimbursed completely. This creates a heavy financial burden on private schools. To add to our trouble, a Fee Regulation Act is imposed. So to create public awareness about the pitiful situation of private schools in the state, we have appealed to all to reopen on June 16 instead of 15 as a mark of protest,” said Sainath Shridhar, secretary of Independent English Schools Association.
Meanwhile, the school trustees said students would not face any academic loss because of the protest since most schools that reopen a day later would work an extra day on Saturday to cover up the loss.