Pvt schools across country to observe Black Day today

Prajakta Joshi
Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Pune: More than 300 private schools in the city will observe Thursday as ‘Black Day’. The protest, led by Independent English Schools Association (IESA), is a part of the nation-wide protest by National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) against the unnecessary and increasing interference of the government in schools’ functioning.

Around one lakh private schools from the country are participating in this
agitation.

Pune: More than 300 private schools in the city will observe Thursday as ‘Black Day’. The protest, led by Independent English Schools Association (IESA), is a part of the nation-wide protest by National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) against the unnecessary and increasing interference of the government in schools’ functioning.

Around one lakh private schools from the country are participating in this
agitation.

RTE vacancy
One of the main issues of the protest is Right to Education (RTE).
Speaking to Sakal Times, Jagruti Dharmadhikari, President, IESA said, “The government doesn’t allow us to give admissions to regular students, even if the RTE seats are vacant after all rounds of admissions are over. Wouldn’t it be going against the whole purpose of RTE, if we are denying admission to a regular student at a school near his/her house?”

RTE activist Mukund Kirdat has stated that receiving compensation for RTE is the right of the private schools. However, in past four years, out of Rs 345 crore, compensation of only Rs 104 crore has been received by the schools, which is unjust.

Peaceful protest
Speaking about the protest, Amit Chandra, Secretary, NISA said, “We want the protest to go on peacefully, without disturbing any day-to-day activities in the schools. They will put black flags on schools and buses. We will also send a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We will request the schools to upload the photographs of the protest on social media.”

Chandra further said, “Right from the opening of schools, to imparting education, the government interferes in everything. The government has hastily drafted safety guidelines and expects us to implement them immediately, without thinking about the budgetary provision, cost and collaboration, etc. What we are simply saying is that what distinguishes private schools from government schools is the autonomy. If the entire autonomy is taken, the school management wouldn’t be left with any authority to make decisions in their own schools. It’s some kind of nationalisation of the private schools.”

Bribe culture
Dharmadhikari also pointed towards other problems saying, “For any government inspection, the government officials who visit the schools always ask for bribes, no matter whether our documents are complete or not. Then, using the Saral system, a software to collate students’ data to create UID, imposed upon us is a headache for our staff. If the government wants us to carry out this work, they need to provide us with proper technical support and they haven’t provided any. Their server is
always down.”

The Orbis School, Priyadarshini School, The New Millennium English Medium School, Novel International School are some of the schools that will participate in the protest on Thursday.

IESA's demands
†IESA has demanded that either the government allows the schools to take in regular students on RTE seats, if they are vacant even after five rounds, or financially compensate for the losses incurred due to those empty seats.
†The teachers, non-teaching staff, and management members in the schools will wear black and will tie black ribbons on their arms to observe the black day.
†Opposing the protest of the private schools, Matin Mujawar of Shishan Hakka Manch said, “Giving private schools the permission to give admissions to regular students in vacant RTE seats would be a complete disaster for the RTE Act. Even after so many years, implementation of RTE is a headache for the government and many deserving students have seen to have been denied admissions under RTE, even by reputed schools. If vacant RTE seats could be filled by regular students, the schools will find even more loopholes to avoid RTE admissions and it will be a complete mess.”

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