Srinagar: Private schools are once again in the news for wrong reasons. This time they have withdrawn the transport facilities for the children.
Parents have been asked to pick and drop their children on their own. “We have been paying the tuition fee regularly for the past 2-years despite schools remaining closed. Now, as the time is coming near for schools to get reopened, the managements of these institutions have started dictating terms. It appears that they want parents to pay the transportation fee for the period during which schools remained closed,” said a parent.
He said, “It’s sheer blackmailing. How is it possible for parents to pick and drop their children as most of them remain busy with their work.”
On Tuesday the Divisional Administration Kashmir had directed the school authorities to run their transport services for students normally and asked them not to issue any controversial statement.
It’s in place to mention here that during the COVID times when the schools and other educational institutions were closed indefinitely the private schools were asked to collect tuition fee only. In many states and union territories the tuition fee was slashed but in J&K the private schools didn’t give any concession in the tuition fee.
Another parent said, “Children are desperate to return to the schools but the recent diktat of the managements of private schools is making parents think what to do. Many schools charged the transport fee for many months after the outbreak of the COVID-19. The transport fee was waived off only after the parents brought this issue into the notice of the administration.”
He said, “The schools are bound to provide transport facilities to the children; they can’t just say that they have grounded their buses. This is not acceptable. The schools which defy the directions of the administration should be pulled up for putting the parents in trouble. By providing transport facilities they are not doing any favour. It’s not any complimentary service. We pay for it.”
Pertinently, the schools in Kashmir are set to reopen in the first week of March nearly after more than one and a half year. These institutions were closed on August 5, 2019, when the Centre revoked J&K’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories. Educational institutions opened for a few days in March last year but were shut again due to an outbreak of the pandemic.
“Students have suffered immensely during the past two years and schools should facilitate their return to classrooms rather than making things difficult for them,” said a teacher.