'Under immense financial distress': MESTA urges Varsha Gaikwad to help teachers, staff to prevent closure of private schools in Maharashtra

Over 6 lakh teachers and 1.50 lakh support staff including trustees of private schools on Thursday appealed to State School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad to refrain from making any indiscriminate changes in the fee structure of private schools in Maharashtra.

The Maharashtra English School Teachers Association (MESTA) submitted their memorandum of demands to the state education minister explaining the plight of teachers, support staff and their families who were suffering due to orders passed by the ministry related to collection of school fees.

MESTA stated that the financial condition of teachers and schools are abysmal and need immediate financial assistance. The association said if full salaries of teachers and staff are not released it might lead to downsizing in schools and also temporary or permanent closure of many schools in the state.

MESTA stated the sole income of private-unaided schools in the state depends on school fees. The letter stated that the government should support teachers by paying minimum wages, release pending RTE dues of last four years, waive government taxes and electricity charges for the academic year 2020-21 and provide adequate representation to MESTA members in any regulatory committee formed by the state government.

Sanjayrao Tayade Patil, President, MESTA said, “Due to a handful of parents, even those who are not eligible are demanding fee cuts. While schools have addressed the same and revised fees last year, they are under immense financial distress and are on a brink of closure leading to unemployment of teaching and non-teaching staff. Parents should realise the effort taken by teachers during the lockdown. Teachers have gone beyond the call of duty and like other agencies who were providing essential services, teachers too, should be honoured with the title of ‘Covid Warriors’ but they have been insulted with massive pay cuts due to non-payment of fees."

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