Over 100 private unaided schools in Mumbai, Thane, Dombivali and Kalyan areas will remain shut and block online classes for all students on Thursday. This appeal has been called in support of the ‘No fees, no school’ campaign as private unaided schools state they are facing financial crisis due to non-payment of fees by parents.
These schools are affiliated to the Private Unaided School Management Association (PUSMA), a member of the umbrella organisation, the Federation of Schools Association of Maharashtra (FSAM) which has around 5,800 member schools across the state.
Schools state this as a mark of appeal against all those parents who have not considered it important to clear their ward’s fees and to call attention to the non-payment of fees by more than 50 to 60 per cent of parents. Bharat Malik, vice president of FSAM, said, "Only 20 to 30 per cent parents have paid the fees for this academic year. In addition, some parents had not paid fees of last year too."
Malik said, "How are private unaided budget schools supposed to survive if parents do not pay fees for the education received by their children? We have been patient since the last eight months of lockdown owing to the financial crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But, if parents continue to not pay fees, we will not be able to pay salaries of teachers which will ultimately lead to teachers quitting their jobs and schools shutting down."
PUSMA stated many teachers of private unaided schools have suffered salary cuts of more than 50 per cent in the last eight months despite conducting regular online classes and continuing education via virtual mode. Malik said, "This is not a protest or bandh but, it is an appeal to parents to stand together with schools in such unprecedented times and support teachers who have worked round the clock to continue providing education amidst the pandemic."