BENGALURU: The city streets were flooded with placards, banners, and a protest march with a turnout of more than 30,000 teachers, non teaching staff, and administrators of private schools.
These members of the education sector took to the streets demanding the revoking of the 70 percent tuition fee ordered by the state government. Represented by 12 organisations, the protesters gathered under the aegis of Karnataka Private School Managements, Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff Coordination Committee (KPMTCC), and handed over memorandums to MLC's and the education minister.
Leaders of organisations urged the minister to also take a salary cut, just as the teachers and support staff have gone without pay, with the recent policy that has impacted school revenue. They also urged the minister to stay clear of the misinformation given by officials about private schools and make prudent decisions. They also sought subsidy just as the other departments have been giving to industries with free electricity, subsidies, tax rebates and subsidies.
"Parents should also remember that education is an investment and not just an expenditure," said Gayatri Devi, a CBSE school administrator, about parents who have deemed laptops and gadgets for online classes as an additional burden, and have shirked from paying fees.
D Shashi Kumar, General Secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) said that with the retrospective NOC rules for renewal and recognition and fitness certificate, 90 percent of the existing schools will have to shut.
Even as several support staff and teachers told TNIE that they did not receive a salary cut or a minimal cut, there were others who were surviving on credit.
"The 12 of us did not receive our pay throughout the lockdown. After schools reopened in January, we received 70 percent of it," Suresh, a driver of a private school in Kolar, who was part of the protest, told TNIE.
"We are on 50 percent pay cut, and there are no other jobs open for us," said a teacher and supporting staff of another school in K R Nagar.
Shashi and other teachers from a state board school in Bangarpete said that their school had given them 50 percent pay since six months, but in between came to their rescue with food kits for two months. "Students continue to attend both online and offline classes, but parents are not willing to pay for it. We are surviving on credit," she told TNIE.
Private schools have given the department a week's ultimatum to resolve their issues.