Parents lock horns with private schools, seek fee waiver

Parents lock horns with private schools, seek fee waiver

Afaq Bhat
Srinagar, June 30: Parents of children studying in private schools are at loggerheads with the managements of these institutions over fee being charged by these schools amidst lockdown.
Parents are demanding that the private schools should waive off the tuition fee till the schools reopen but private schools are not relenting.
According to the media reports private schools in Kashmir had recently announced a fee waiver for the students, whose parents have lost their jobs or have suffered huge losses since the day lockdown has been announced. But the parents demanded that no fee should be charged till the life returns to normal.  “We have been paying the fee since August 5, 2019 despite schools remaining closed. Why should we pay when our children are not going to schools,” said a parent.
“These private schools have turned into money minting centers. Despite collecting fees from the parents many teachers have been disengaged and is some cases they have told the staff members no work means no pay,” the parent claimed.
Another parent said, “They are resorting to blackmailing by telling us that names of our children will be stuck off if we don’t pay the fee and the entire education system will collapse. Someone needs to ask these private school owners didn’t they have any contingency plan?”
He said, “Parents of all the students are not government employees, neither are they big businessmen. The people running these schools should understand that every section of the society has suffered due to COVID-19 lockdown and the situation which prevailed after August 5, 2019 (when Centre announced its decision to revoke J&K’s special status and bifuricated it into two union territories) .”
The parent said that the private schools should find some middle path rather than demanding the full fee for the lockdown period. “Parents and private schools have to meet the half way to end this deadlock. If both continue to remain rigid, it will lead to chaos and confusion and students can lose one more academic year. The private schools should realize that they cannot dictate terms to parents as most people in Kashmir are facing financial crunch,” the parent added.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “Private school owners should stop behaving like whipping boys. Rather than approaching the helmsmen they should discuss their problems with the parents and take them on board. They are not going to win any sympathizers by cribbing about their losses. They should bear in mind that they are not the only ones who have faced losses. Everyone in Kashmir is sailing in the same boat.”