State govt neglecting challenges of pvt schools in the face of pandemic: AAPSA

ITANAGAR, Jul 22: The All Arunachal Private Schools Association (AAPSA) has called the state government out for neglecting its proposal and the challenges faced by private school caused by the closure of schools due to the Covid-19 pandemic despite repeated requests and representations.
“Despite the submission of our proposal, the government of Arunachal Pradesh is yet to call on our proposal for reasons best known to them,” it said.
Informing that while government schools have been allowed to begin admissions for the academic year 2020-21, private schools are barred from doing the same
“On 21 July, the government directed government schools to start regular classes from 1st August, 2020, but they ignored private schools despite our repeated request and representation,” AAPSA president James Techi Tara informed.
In a meeting held in June with the education minister and secretary, the AAPSA had highlighted issues of private schools.
The association had informed that the closure of private schools has not only impacted the students but also all employees engaged in the schools and the families that depend on employment in the school management.
It also informed that most private schools in the state could not collect their dues of last academic session as schools completed academic session 2019-20 satisfactorily.
The department of education had also issued an order not to collect school fees due and re-admission of the students.
“Due to this government order of restricting collection of school fees in the current scenario, every private school is suffering with the problems of fee collection,” the AAPSA president said.
The association highlighted that every private school continues to have its recurring expenditure on water, electricity, EMI on bank loan, building rent, premises rent, payment of salaries to staff, maintenance expenditure etc. even during the lockdown period.
Though schools are not open for regular classroom teaching, most of the schools teachers are engaged in conducting online classes.
The AAPSA, after a recent consultative meeting with heads and chairpersons of more than 300 unaided private schools, had submitted a proposal to the government on 29 June.
As per the proposal, the private schools of the state had decided to wave-off certain financial considerations as a goodwill gesture to parents and stakeholders of private schools.
Accordingly, the schools decided to wave off 20 percent on the tuition fees for the months of April to July 2020 for academic session 2020-21.
The mess fee and transportation fee from the months of April to July 2020 will be waved off completely.
In case some schools have received full fees for the months of April to July, 2020, the surplus amount shall be adjusted towards the subsequent fees of that particular student and no refund in cash shall be entertained.
The association now sought revocation of the government order in the line of order issued for government schools for collection of fees and re-admission for academic session 2020-21 as has been granted to the government schools of the state.
It also sought immediate issuance of Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) for educational institution in advance so that schools can prepare infrastructures as per SOP.
The AAPSA also sought one-time grant-in-aid to the recognized private schools to meet up additional expenditure on re-opening of the schools on account of purchasing safety equipment, recurring expenses on sanitizers, chemicals etc, training of manpower, and additional manpower as “these would be required to follow the SOPs and schools may have to function in shifts basis for maintaining social distancing norms which would incur a huge financial impact and we would not be in a position to charge anything extra from the parents.”
The same has been conveyed to the chief minister and education minister in a memorandum on 22 July as well.
It is to be noted that schools across the country have been closed since the Government of India ordered closure of all schools and colleges in the country on 16 March, 2020 in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Approximately 500 private schools with more than 10, 000 students in Arunachal Pradesh are affected due to closures of private schools in the state in response to the government order for closure of schools.