Nearly 4,400 schools in the state are expected to participate in a bandh called by the Federation of Schools Association of Maharashtra (FSAM) on February 25. The bandh has been called after FSAM’s letter, raising issues over the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE), to the state government on January 24 failed to elicit a response from the administration.
Members of FSAM have alleged that the state department GR — dated November 1, 2018 — allowing reimbursement of only Rs 17,000 per year per child was less than tuition fees at most schools. “Each school has a different fee structure depending on the facilities it provides. Moreover, the GR states that the government will only reimburse the tuition fees, and no other costs, like electricity, land etc,” said Rajendra Singh, representative of Independent English Schools Association.
Singh said that schools were asked for certificates and documents of the students admitted under the RTE, even though the students are selected by the government after verification. Pointing towards lack of machinery to monitor the implementation under the RTE, FSAM members said that government officials could visit the schools to check if the students were attending their classes, instead of asking the schools to verify the same.
Some of the other demands by the members include drafting rules for protection of the school staff, alteration in the November 18, 2013 GR that makes school bus provider/contractor responsible for any untoward incident rather than the principal, starting “Darja wadh” (permission required for students passing Class 8 and Class 9) online, providing free books, bag, uniform and stationery material to students under the RTE and reimbursing RTE fees according to the Executive Parents Teachers Association approved fees of respective schools.