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Exodus from private schools on cards for Puducherry students?

With the lockdown crushing many livelihoods, parents shift wards to government schools

Published: 18th June 2021 05:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th June 2021 05:16 AM   |  A+A-

school teachers, exams

For representational purpose. (File Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

PUDUCHERRY: Stuck between dwindling incomes and high school fees, several parents in Puducherry are planning to shift their wards from private to government schools. “In the past few days, so many people have been approaching me, asking for admissions - from lower classes to high school,” says Raj Bhavan MLA and former education minister K Lakshminayanan.

Amid the lockdown-induced economic slump, parents have been struggling to pay the fees for private schools, and have protested against institutions that barred students from online classes for not paying the full fee. There are strong demands for a moratorium on payment of the entire fee, citing an order of the Madras High Court, but schools have been unrelenting, stating that they still have to pay their staff.

Former AIADMK MLA Vaiyapuri Manikandan says parents have been asking him to request schools to extend the fee-payment deadline, or take half the fee now and the rest after a few months.  But schools aren’t in favour of this, he adds. Parents want several components of the fee, such as the extra-curricular activities fee, library fee, and games fee, to be waived. Former Lok Sabha member M Ramadass has suggested forming a committee of experts to work out a solution based on schools’ actual expenditure.

However, many people working in private companies, or in the travel industry, and businesspersons, can’t afford to pay for their children’s education right now. Hence, they are considering government schools. “In any case, online classes are not effective. Students often misuse their phones and don’t pay attention,” says a parent. 

Further, students at government schools get a food security allowance, uniform-stitching charges, and rice, in lieu of mid-day meals. Students of Classes 1-5 are given 7 kg of rice, and `800 for groceries, vegetables and sewing uniforms. Students of Classes 6-8 are given 12 kg of rice, and `1,220 for groceries, vegetables and uniforms.

Lakshminarayanan says there are presently 95,000 students enroled in government schools, and the number is likely to shoot past the one-lakh mark once admissions begin. Director of School Education PT Rudra Goud asserts that there is no shortage of seats in government schools. Admission are set to begin next week, based on the policy adopted by the government.

Earlier, Class 11 admissions were based on SSLC marks for the groups preferred by students, but now, a different criteria would have to be evolved, he adds. Meanwhile the wait continues for the induction of ministers, to take decision on these crucial matters

Politicos flooded with requests
Former AIADMK MLA Vaiyapuri Manikandan says parents have been asking him to request schools to extend the fee-payment deadline, or take half the fee now and the rest after a few months. But schools aren’t in favour of this, he adds. Parents want several fees, such as the extra-curricular activities fee and games fee, to be waived. Former Lok Sabha member M Ramadass has suggested forming a committee of experts to work out a solution based on schools’ actual expenditure.



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