Enable learning. Allow unaided schools to collect full tuition fee & support the needy.
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January 2021: Teachers Unite Campaign. Support Teachers. Support Students. Support Quality Education. Support Schools. Build our Nation.
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*Image Credit: The Times of India
As per the Deccan Herald article dated 20 January 2021, the Department of Public Instruction has submitted a report to the Government recommending a cut in school fee by 25% to 30%.
Imagine a situation where thousands of teachers are unemployed, and lakhs of students will have to learn in the worst possible student-teacher ratio. That's what this recommendation will do.
Introducing a compulsory cut in school fee across all schools will have implications on the salaries and employment of teachers across the length & breadth of Karnataka / India, and the very existence of unaided schools, which many parents choose to send their children to, over and above FOC Government Schools.
After banning private schools from collecting any fee at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as banning online learning upto Grade 5, to now recommending a blanket cut on school fee, our government has once again put the interest of the teachers, students and education on the back burner. All this while the Government had no plans for online education or remote learning which led to this situation. Given that the Government has told parents who don’t want to pay fee this year not to pay, how will schools sustain and why will the parents who are unwilling or unable to pay fee, pay even 70% percent of it.
The pandemic has already caused many teachers to lose their jobs or not getting paid regularly, taking to odd jobs to make ends meet like selling fruits and vegetables, taking to painting jobs, farming and so on (Article published in The Hindu). Many schools are also on the verge of closing.
We request the Hon’ble Minister of State for Primary & Secondary Education and Sakala of Karnataka, Shri S. Suresh to withdraw this recommendation, and instead work on the following:
- Provide financial assistance to schools that need it to pay teacher salaries and for teacher training, particularly unaided budget schools with limited fee collection
- Pay schools their dues for RTE students
- Work with IT & Telecom companies and schools to build a robust scalable online/remote learning platform for all schools to use
- Provide SOPs and sanitization support to reopen schools safely and provide both online and on campus hybrid schooling
- Vaccinate teachers and school staff as a top priority
- Rollback on hikes/exempt (as the case may be ) on the increased cost of power, property taxes, income tax, etc.
“Our students and their parents have appreciated the online learning and the arrangements made by their schools. If our parents are able and willing to afford the cost of education for their child, should we be held back by the Government orders and follow the reduction in annual fees? Who shall bear the cost of the expenditure incurred already?” asks a teacher from a private school who is concerned about her future and those of her students.
Teachers are also front-line workers in this pandemic spending 10-12 hours on their screens, taking online classes, curating content and correcting pictures of hand-written exam papers each day. Each teacher has played a much greater role than ‘just teaching classes’. We have pushed the envelope to be care providers, mentors and counselors, prioritizing our students’ well-being during and beyond classroom hours, all online.
The news of the proposed cut comes in as we are trying to find a solution that is a good balance of online and offline, how children can get back to school campuses safely. While this could be a chance to acknowledge and support the hard work put in by teachers & schools, this recommendation by the Department reinforces that schools will have to re-do the budgets and the sword would drop onto teachers’ salaries. This is not only discouraging for all of us teachers but also re-affirms our Government’s disbelief in their ‘nation builders’ - Teachers.
What we have at stake is the future of this country. The State and Central Governments need to own the responsibility to get everyone back to school, back to learning and not drop the buck with schools that are already struggling.
Please read, sign & share the petition! This is for all the teachers across India who go beyond their call of duty to ensure teaching and learning continues for their students whether or not it happens at school or at home (online) even during the time of a global crisis.
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