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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Govt quietly goes about with reforms for private schools, varsities

dehradun Updated: Jul 29, 2017 20:46 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times
Ironically, most parents don’t wish to switch their children from private to government schools due to gap on quality of education.
Ironically, most parents don’t wish to switch their children from private to government schools due to gap on quality of education.(PHOTO FOR REPRESENTATION PURPOSE)

DEHRADUN: The BJP government has been gradually trying to ‘rein in’ private schools and universities ever since it came to power in March.

As the erstwhile Congress government made similar attempts but failed to make headway, the Trivendra Singh Rawat-led BJP government is slowly unfolding its reform plans. School education minister Arvind Pandey has declared to introduce an act for regulating private schools. A regulatory authority is on the cards to monitor work of private universities.

With over 200 private schools such as Doon School and Welham’s School, Dehradun is known for primary and secondary education. A common complaint against these schools is high fees. Despite a committee headed by district magistrate in each district, complaints ranging from buying stationery from selective bookstores to charging miscellaneous fee are yet to come down.

“Parents are harassed in the name of revision of school fee and readmission. It’s an issue that comes up every year. Having no say in their management, we feel helpless. Therefore, we have decided to come up with an act that will help monitor them,” school education minister Arvind Pandey said.

But private schools maintain that the ‘high’ fee is necessary. “Kids of politicians and bureaucrats are studying in private schools, which explains the quality of education that we deliver,” said Jennifer Kumar, who heads the association of CICSE schools in capital. “As far as fee hike is concerned, we know government teachers get handsome salary and perks. If we want similar facilities for our teachers, what is wrong? The only source of income for private schools is fee. No school charges exorbitant fee. We need to keep on revising fee so that teachers and other staff get the best.”

The association, she said, is ready to support the government in improving education system for benefiting the poor students.

Ironically, most parents don’t wish to switch their children from private to government schools. “The quality of education in government schools is poor. I would never like to put my child in those schools where teachers don’t even know to speak in English,” Radhika Sahu, a parent, said.

Parents Teachers Association president Neeraj Singhal agreed that the standard of private schools cannot be matched. “We receive complains of fee hike and readmission charges, but parents are unwilling to admit children in government schools.”

Singhal said a 1995 government order having details of the minimum standards, revision of fee and other details based on which non-objection certificate should be given, is not being followed by the administration.

For higher education, the government plans to form a regulatory authority for monitoring admissions, staff recruitment, fee among others in private universities. Eleven private universities - each notified by a separate ordinance - are present in Uttarakhand. Four more universities are on the cards for which a draft proposal was cleared by the Cabinet.

Higher education minister Dhan Singh Rawat and additional chief secretary Ranbir Singh were not available for statements despite several attempts to contact them.

First Published: Jul 29, 2017 20:45 IST