Published: 23rd September 2021
Parents in Karnataka seek a fee determination committee, children might step down to protest
Prithvi Reddy, Karnataka State Convenor AAP said former BJP Education Minister, Dr Suresh Kumar, merely sidestepped the matter and asked the schools to reduce fees by 30 per cent
After the Karnataka High Court directed private schools to reduce fees by 15 per cent for the academic year 2020-21, parents are now demanding that the government should set up a fee determination committee and come up with a permanent solution to the problem.
Members of parents' organisations--Samanvaya Samiti and Voice of Parents-- and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) volunteers gathered at Maurya Circle on Wednesday to demand the establishment of a fee determination committee. Talking to media persons, one of the parents said that the judgement on the 15 per cent fee reduction was based on Supreme Court's judgement in a case in Rajasthan. "The Karnataka government doesn't have any role in the reduction of fees, as the government and private schools had already made a deal among themselves that not a rupee will be reduced," the parent said.
He said that parents will join any political or other organisations to demand the establishment of a fee determination committee. "While 1947 witnessed the Quit India Movement, now, private schools will witness Quit Private School Movement," he said, adding, "As per our rights, we need to know not just how much we are paying but for what we are paying, and have a choice to negotiate."
He pointed out that so far, parents have been begging for fee reduction but now, it (begging) will stop, and a movement will begin. Parents rued that government infrastructure in health and education was in a dismal state and hence, they were left to choose private schools.
"A fee determination committee is needed to break the cycle of high fees that everyone has been talking about," said another parent, adding that the government should step down if it is incapable to give the fee issue, a permanent solution. Prithvi Reddy, Karnataka State Convenor AAP said former BJP Education Minister, Dr Suresh Kumar, merely sidestepped the matter and asked the schools to reduce fees by 30 per cent.
Meanwhile, Romi Bhati, AAP State Observer said,"The ultimate solution, is a dramatic improvement of fee structure in government schools as the AAP-led government in Delhi has done. However, in Karnataka, corruption and political nexus by successive parties in power have led to no improvement in government schools, so it is not even an option today for parents. "
"For now, Aam Aadmi Party demands that the government should support parents through financial assistance to reduce the burden of school fees. Either a scholarship for children or by paying salaries of teachers could be an alternative of reducing fee structures," she said, adding, it should be for both the academic years (20-21 and 21-22), owing to the impact of lockdowns.
Other demands of the parents include immediate setting up of effective school management committees empowering all stakeholders, weekly dashboard of enrollment and attendance in schools.