Srinagar: Scores of students and their parents Thursday held peaceful protest demonstrations at the main entrance of Education Minister’s Baghat residence, demanding directions to private schools to waive off tuition and transport charges of past four months.
The protestors assembled under the banner of Parents Association and raised pro-justice slogans.
“We are here to call on Education Minister Naeem Akther and apprise him about the diktats of private schools. We want him to intervene in the matter,” said Showkat Ahmad, a parent.
The protestors said that private schools are asking students to pay tuition fee for the four months of shutdown.
“It is a weird situation. Kashmir is on boil for the past three months but these private schools are asking for tuition fees,” said Feroz Ahmad Ganie, president of the Association.
“How is it possible to pay fee of our students in such crises. Schools remained closed for three months and they are forcing us to pay fee for these months. It is totally illogical,” he added.
He said that teachers of private schools are asked to not seek any salary for the past four months. “School authorities are asking teachers that they have not performed any duties from past four months and thus they are not entitled to any salary. When it comes for collection of money from students, they have different rules,” he rued.
The parents said that on one hand Private School Association is claiming to support ongoing movement and ready to shut the schools voluntarily. “On other hand, these schools are forcing parents to pay tuition and transport charges of past four months during when schools remained shut,” they said.
They said that these school authorities are having dual faces. “In public meetings, they claim to give sacrifices for continuation of ongoing movement. They are not ready for any sacrifice. They want to close school but mint money from parents,” they added.
They said that if separatist leadership had issued press statement against J&K Bank why are they silent over the harassment of private schools caused to parents.
Parents said the administration of some missionary schools functioning in city have sent them telephonic messages asking them to clear the monthly dues of their students including the transportation charges.
“We fail to understand why we should pay the tuition fee and transportation charges when there was no class work for three months. School buses didn’t ferry students as well. So school administration should take a holistic view on the issue and give some relaxation to parents,” said a group of parents.
The parents said that schools were taking them for a ride by demanding fuel charges citing that they have to manage salary for the drivers and conductors of the buses.
“They can manage their salaries from other sources as they seek huge donations at the time of admission of students. These schools are also aided by various institutions, so they should not harass the parents in the ongoing crises-like situation,” they said.
Later, the protestors dispersed off peacefully. (KNS)