If the education department’s plan of asking students to pay for an all-inclusive insurance cover for the vehicle gets implemented, travelling by school bus could get costlier.
According to a state government resolution (GR) dated September 14, 2011, the school administration should charge students for an all-inclusive insurance cover for the bus.
If the school opts for a group insurance policy of Rs1 lakh, the premium amount would come to Rs350 per annum, thus putting an additional burden on parents.
Schools feel the education department’s demand is justified. “Parents are being asked to pay extra for their child’s safety. As long as the insurance amount is not very high, parents should not have any problem with the policy,” said Deepshikha Srivastava, principal, Rajhans Vidyalaya in Andheri.
“The management cannot be expected to pay for the facilities provided by the bus operator to the schoolchildren,” said Anjana Prakashan, principal, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.
School bus owners —who had recently threatened to increase school bus fees for maintenance work by Rs300 — are of the same opinion.
“Like school management and bus operators, parents should also share the responsibility of children’s safety,” said Anil Garg, president of the School Bus Owners’ Association.
The Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) are however unhappy with the proposal. “Some clauses in the general resolution are too vague. The transport department and school education department should hold discussions on it. Charging extra for insurance cover is just another way of exploiting parents,” said Arundhati Chavan, president of the PTA United Forum.