Govt demonizing private educational institutions: PSAJK
Srinagar: The Private School Association Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) on Tuesday accused the government of maligning the local private educational institutes to hide the grey areas in their own education sector. The association said the government has started a war against the economical private schools to shift the public attention towards the sector.
“From past few weeks, government has started a war to undermine the private education sector in Kashmir, which has created a dangerous situation for the entire society,” said Chairman PSAJ&K G N Var.
Var was addressing media persons during a press conference here and condemned the lobbying by administration and other quarters saying that the administration in one way or the other is trying to destroy the fledgling private education sector in Kashmir.
“To keep a private school functional has become a herculean task. With mudslinging, barrage of allegations and character assassinations, private school owners are being labeled as criminals,” G N Var said.
He said it has happened for the first time that private schools have been subjected to such pressure tactics.
“Revenue authorities, Legal Metrology Department, Directorate of School Education, Fee Fixation Committee, district administration and everybody who wields some sort of power are swooping down on small private schools to harass them,’ he said.
Briefing further he said, LMD November 12 visited Leeds Convent School in Kulgam and after thoroughly searching for an hour could not find any book in the school.
“But in utter frustration, they challaned the school after spotting two Gas cylinders which the school had used for heating purpose for class 11th examinations,” said Var, adding that the team was unable to find any books and took away books from school library and fined the school Rs 50000.
“The issue was brought into the notice of the Deputy Commissioner of the district as the school administration has decided to fight the unjustified action. The administration is now trying to find excuses to harass our schools,” he added.
Var said no rule bars them from keeping text books available in their schools for sale. “Infact in February this year, High Court in New Delhi has allowed the sale of books, uniforms in schools at the tuck shops set up at affiliated schools across the country, holding that the sale of such items does not amount to “commercialization” of education,” Var said.
Taking a dig at the government, Var said why didn’t the authorities issue guidelines to missionary and DPS schools who were compelling the parents to purchase books and uniforms from the school premises.
“This has been their practice for more than 20 years, yet they were never raided. It was only when the admission time in local private schools started, the government started a war to discourage us,” Var said, adding that two reputed private schools like ‘Green Valley’ and ‘R P School’ were given harsh punishment even as no hand was laid on missionary schools despite latter being way too costly.
Regarding the complaints that text books were being sold only at one place, he said the PSAJK has already issued the circular directing schools to make available books at multiple places.
“Government education department being a competitor to the private schools cannot be a fair regulator and the administrative system needs a change. Our only question to people at the helm of affairs is if they loathe private schools so much why every government official admits children in private schools,” he asked.
He said why bureaucrats and even government school teachers don’t admit their wards in government schools.
“On one hand they want to benefit from private schools by admitting their wards but on the other hand they don’t want to give these schools their due credit but continue to harass them,” he said.
Terming the present situation hostile for running private schools, Var said the association is mulling to organize a conference of schools on November 20. “If the situation doesn’t improve, we will announce the future course of action, even if it may be some drastic one,” he said.