Srinagar: Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) has strongly condemned the statements and misleading facts propagated by certain non-stakeholders and people of vested interests regarding the collection of fee by private schools.
The Association said that a known history-sheeter in Jammu whose own children study at central government school has been attacking private schools and even putting contact numbers of government officials on social media and asking people to harass them with calls and messages. “It is an irony that there is no basis to those facts and it amounts to open harassment of schools and officials. We are looking into the matter and have urged authorities to book the persons under relevant provisions of law,” said Spokesperson of PSAJK adding that private schools are organised institutes and they work according to certain rules and in agreement with parents.
The Association clarified that the government order regarding the collection of fee will be strictly implemented but at the same time every child will be treated in a fair manner. “The children of government employees, pensioners, chemists, essential commodity traders and others whose income was not affected would have to pay 100 percent fee,” said the spokesperson. “However there are a number of children whose family has taken a severe financial hit during the lockdown. So in those cases PSAJK has already constituted a scholarship and the students will be helped after verification on case to case basis. No poor students will be made to suffer.”
The Association said that a myth is being created that all private schools in J&K are high end schools with huge fee structure, but the reality is that majority of schools are small schools with lesser fee. “The big schools take the fee for the whole year at the start of the academic session and the so-called activists never target them. They only attack average, small schools,” said the spokesperson. “We have hundreds of small schools spread across city and villages. It is the fee through which they have to pay salary of teachers, rent and meet other expenditures. If not for the student fee, most of our schools will be closed and that is our biggest worry.”
The Association said that the private schools employ around 65000 persons as teaching and non-teaching staff and the source of their salary is the fee component only. “It was the concern for these 65000 families that Principal Secretary School Education Dr Asgar Samoon stressed on giving salary to all of them during this lockdown. We are abiding by the rules,” said the spokesperson. “All other directions are also being followed in letter and spirit. The schools won’t deny access to online education material/classes to poor/deserving students unable to pay school fees due to prevailing situation. Dr Samoon has instructed us to ensure that no poor should suffer and we assure all that we will abide by the directions.”
The Association also held a zoom meeting with representatives of Parents Association of Privately Administered Schools (PAPAS) represented by Asma Goni and others. Both sides discussed various issues faced by them and agreed to work for a mutually agreeable solution. “The parents have put forward their point and we also discussed issues faced by schools. It was a constructive meeting,” said the Spokesperson. “We assured them that we are committed to helping poor and needy students. And the fee of needy and poor students would be waived off by virtue of scholarship.”