Even as the state government made it clear that schools must reserve 25% seats for students from economically weaker sections from June this year, state board (SSC) schools said they are not prepared for the policy.
State board schools in the city will begin from the second week of June, giving these schools only a month to accommodate so many more students. Unaided schools also need to organise funds to pay the fees of these students.
“The government must give us breathing time of at least a year to implement the policy,” said Amol Dhamdhare, honorary secretary, Indian Education Society, which runs SSC aided and unaided schools in the city. “The government first needs to set guidelines. We don’t know how the finances will be borne and which sections are eligible for reservation,” he said.
Dhamdhare said that the expenses would end up affecting the remaining 75% students through fee regulation. “Even if the government promises to aid schools financially, we cannot be sure if our needs will be met on time,” he added.
Even as financial worries loomed, disruption of the admission process was the immediate cause of concern for schools. “This kind of regulation needs planning, and it will be very difficult to alter admissions in the last minute, when we usually plan it over six months,” said Achama Mathew, chief executive officer, Bombay Cambridge Gurukul, a group of five city schools that follows the state board curriculum. Admissions to Class1 for schools under Bombay Cambridge Gurukul were completed in January, and even though the schools have kept a few seats open for later admissions, they won’t match the 25% criteria. “This policy will affect us in every way, with regard to our admission processes, the class strength, administration and finances,” Mathew added.