– Schools to remain close, demonstration in Delhi
New Delhi 22 March. National Coalition for School Education which is a coalition of seven national level associations of private schools has launched Shiksha Bachao Abhiyan (Save Education Campaign) under the aegis of National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) which is the national federation of private schools.
Addressing to the media, Kulbhushan Sharma, Chairman of National Coalition for School Education said, “While the state of education calls for urgent reforms, government seems to be working only for appeasement and quick fix. It’s high time for all of us as a stakeholder to unite and gather in New Delhi, to call on the hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and voice our concerns regarding the never ending problems of education sector. To this end, a mass gathering by all stakeholders is being organised on Saturday, 7 April 2018 to demand for reform in education. We will be presenting the Charter of Demands to the Prime Minister, and would ask for representation for consultations on the policy-making decisions in the field of education.”
Sharma said that the main demands of the charter will be:
- Each parent to be empowered with Rs 2,500/- per child per month to meet the schooling expenses of their children.
- Education/Teaching services to be made tax-free. Safety and security of all students, teachers, management and school premise to be ensured.
- Amendments to RTE Act 2009 for learning outcome based school recognition system instead of mere infrastructure based norms which has led to thousands of schools to close down.
Rajesh Malhotra, Vice President of National Independent Schools Alliance said, “India has been growing and with increased purchasing power, the aspirations of people have risen. Parents want the best for their children and even poor parents, whose only hope to change their lives is through providing their children with good education, are choosing non-government schools.”
Amit Chandra, National Coordinator; NISA said, “Our public education system has irretrievably broken down and is not producing the desired results. India ranked seventy-second out of 73 countries in the PISA (Program for International Students Assessment) ranking of 2010 by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). The Annual Status of Education Report (rural) 2016 released on 18 January 2017 has shown pathetic learning quality with only 25 per cent of children in grade III being able to read a grade II level text. Around 10 lakh out of 60 lakh teaching positions are vacant. According to a World Bank study, teacher absenteeism on any given day is as high as 25 per cent. Of the teachers who do come to work, a large proportion of them lack the motivation and skills to perform well. The victims are our children.”
Prem Chand Deshwal of Private Land Public Schools Association said, “Today when state has taken up the responsibility of providing free and compulsory education to all children between age group of 6 to 14 years, it is increasing control over education system and providers. This has led to increasing intervention into school management by government and has become threat to schools’ autonomy.”
Anil Goyal of South Delhi Unrecognised Schools Association said “The ever increasing centralization and standardization of education is defeating the purpose of providing personalized learning to children. It is destroying social fabric and contentious to schools’ autonomy. The widely celebrated Right to Education Act of 2009, even with its all good intentions, resulting into a divisive instrument. It has resulted into conflict among schools, parents, media and civil society groups instead of working together to provide quality education to all.”