Government stalls decision for economic revival of private schools

The delay in implementation of decision results in closure of private schools
Government stalls decision for economic revival of private schools
Mubashir Khan/GK File

The inordinate delay by the government to implement the decision for economic revival of private schools has resulted in closure of more than 200 budget schools.

Other locally managed schools are also at the verge of closure as the government shelved the process of economic revival of these schools under which the government had planned to compensate the losses faced by these schools in wake of the prolonged closure of these institutions since the outbreak of covid-19.

In November last year the J&K government constituted a high level committee for the revival of the private educational institutions in J&K Union Territory (UT). Headed by the advisor in-charge of School Education and Higher Education Department as its Chairman the committee was entrusted to examine in detail, problems confronted by private educational institutions in J&K UT on account of suspension of academic activities owing to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The Administrative Secretary of School and Higher Education Department besides a representative of the finance department are the members of the committee. As per the order, the committee was supposed to make appropriate recommendations in the matter within a period of 15 days.

However a year has passed since the committee was constituted but there has been no progress in the initiative. The delay has exposed the sluggishness of the government in implementing its policy decisions which are aimed at the public good.

Given the delay of around a year, it seems that the government initiative for reviving private schools was eyewash and did not see any implementation on ground. The delay has proved dearly for the locally managed and budget schools which faced huge financial losses due to prolonged suspension of academic activities. Most of the locally managed schools and budget private schools are denied the monthly fee by the parents under the pretext of not attending the regular offline classes at the schools. Majority of the parents according to the school management do not acknowledge the online classes conducted by the teachers of the concerned schools.

“The budget private schools and other schools which are locally managed by the concerned school managements are at the verge of closure because of financial losses they faced during the closure of educational institutions post August 2019 and during the COVID-19outbreak,” President Private Schools Association J&K (PSAJK) G N Var said.

He said around 200 schools are at the verge of closure as the management is unable to run the schools due to huge financial losses they faced from the past two years. The president of the private school body said the issue about the revival of private schools was stalled for unknown reasons.

Notably the committee to examine the financial losses of private schools was constituted when the advisor to J&K Lieutenant Governor K K Sharma was heading the school education department. “After his transfer there was no progress in the process,” Var said. He said the association submitted their representations to the government a number of times but no steps were taken to implement the decision for betterment of private schools.

The delay in revival of private schools mostly affects the females working as teachers in these schools. With less returns the schools are not able to pay the salary of the teachers and other non-teaching staff of the school. “The government should on priority work on this issue and examine the financial losses of schools. Otherwise the education in the private sector will face closure,” G N Var said.

Commissioner Secretary GAD, Manoj Kumar Dwivedi put the ball in the court of the school education department saying that the concerned department was supposed to work on the issue.

“No doubt the committee was constituted by the GAD but the concerned department (school education) was supposed to work on it. We will still follow it up to check the latest status,” he said.

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