Representational picture
Representational picture

BHOPAL: The umbrella organization of private schools, the Association of Unaided Private Schools has decided to go on strike and shut private schools and colleges across the state from December 16 if their demands are not met by the state government.

Adding insult to injury, the district administration has refused to give permission to the association to hold a protest rally even at Shahjehani Park. Earlier, the private school association had announced that they would protest in front of CM House. “We’ve been seeking permission for a peaceful protest for the past four days, but haven’t got it so far. If we don’t get permission till December 16, we’ll protest at the district collector’s office,” said Babu Thomas, secretary of the association. “We’re ready for any action against us, including arrest by the police,” he added.

The Association of Unaided Private Schools has said that opening of schools from Classes IX-XII isn’t enough. “Schools from Class VI onwards should be opened across the state,” said vice-president of the association Viniraj Modi.

“Schools and colleges have been shut for the past nine months. The teaching and non-teaching staff is on the verge of starvation,” said Ashish Chaterjee, president of the Private Schools’ Association. No online or offline classes will be held on December 15 in any private school or college across the state.

He said the Association of Unaided Private Schools had submitted a 10-point charter of demands to the school education department. “The government is silent on the issue of realization of fees from students. It should issue instructions that parents should submit the fees,” he added. Only about 50% of the students have submitted the school fees and that has made running of the schools impossible.

The state government should also provide us a relief package that’s being provided to others in the business sector and provide subsidized loans. Private schools have demanded waivers from the government of old electricity bills and requested the issue of only bills of actual use. All taxes, including property tax, road tax and permit tax on school vehicles should be brought down to zero for the period of lockdown.”

If these demands are not met by the state government, private school operators will have no option but to shut schools, said the association. The government should immediately repeal the order for closure of schools up to Class VIII till March 31. Private schools demand that schools should be allowed to hold regular classes for the students of Classes VI-XII.

The Association of Unaided Private Schools include the Society for Private School Directors, the Sahodaya Group of CBSE Schools, the Association of Professional and Technical Institutions, the Jabalpur Unaided Schools’ Association, the Independent School Alliance-Indore, the Gwalior Private Schools’ Association Samiti and others.

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Free Press Journal