Autonomy of schools, return of inspector raj, RTE reimbursement, no detention and teacher’s eligibility are a few issues faced by budget private schools. To resolve these and more, India’s largest congregation of unaided budget private schools, National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) representatives met and presented a charter of demands to the HRD Ministry recently. The meeting with Anil Swarup, Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, highlighted the major demand of active representation of BPS in the policy making process.
During this meeting, Kulbhushan Sharma, President, NISA, said, “The representation of elite private and government schools is always ensured while making education policies. But budget private schools, which have more than 90% stake in education sector, are kept away from this process. This is the reason rules go against BPS most of the times.”
Under RTE, the Central Government funds states to reimburse fee for students from economically weaker sections but in most of the cases, money does not reach the schools. There is a misappropriation of funds at the state level but the parents get an impression that there is something wrong at the school level. If the students are given vouchers, it will bring more transparency and choice to the parents with an added benefit of eliminating one layer, hence causing lesser leakages in the system.
Expressing his concern, Rajesh Malhotra, vice president, NISA and coordinator of Delhi Chapter, said, “RTE prescribes the schools to renew their licences every three years which is forcing the return of Inspector Raj in this sector. We have to make endless rounds to the authorities’ office which is giving more leeway to corruption.”
Commenting on the teacher’s eligibility issue, D Shashi Kumar, coordinator of NISA’s Karnataka Chapter, said, “RTE’s provisions are heavily discriminating in its rules and favours government schools and makes teacher eligibility test mandatory only for the private school teachers. Such interference not only mars the independence of private schools but also hampers the quality of education imparted.” Thomas Antony from NISA Secretariat added that the Education Secretary Anil Swarup assured them that positive steps will be taken for all the demands presented to the ministry.