The National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), claiming to represent over 55,400 (budget private) schools, from 20 state associations has announced a 51-day long national ‘Save Education Campaign’ to demand that the government funds all students. As per NISA’s logic DBT to student will end the uncertainly, chaos and battles being fought over school fees.
In an online event today (July 29), Dr Kulbhushan Sharma, president NISA, kick started the campaign by sending the first letter to this effect to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. As part of campaign all schools will write such letters and organized awareness campaigns principally to educate parents. “Parents need to know where their fight lies. It is not at the doors of private schools but government. They are paying for education through taxes and should demand quality education. The fee issue may have started hurting them now but the reality is that government hasn’t ensured quality education and that’s how you parents started to look for it in private schools. And, today these temples of learning are in danger of closing. So, government should fund all students in private schools and provide money to them to buy devices as well. It is time to make students aatma nirbhar (self-relaint),” he said. NISA president while invoking the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam idiom called upon the government to respect the diversity of educational institutions and treat all schools as one family. “The government needs to keep the last child in mind while framing polices, S/she should be denied right to education”.
Sharma also said the campaign will also focus on 1.5 crore teachers employed by budget school segment and private schools. Pointing out how many of these teachers have taken to work as daily wagers under MNREGA or sell vegetables, he said that in most cases these teachers have been the bread earners for their families. “If teacher become beggars, you can well imagine the state of such a nation,” he reminded the people. According to him DBT to students can indirectly support these teachers, who will not only get paid well but contribute to economy as their purchasing powers increases and also by becoming tax payers.
NISA has also brought out the prospect of a major crisis in demand and supply if budget schools close down. “It will affect millions of children and lack of schools will take away opportunity of empowerment through education from them,” Sharma added.
Expressing the hope that the campaign will be able to sensitize all relevant people in power, parliamentarians, parents and others Sharma said that there is a window of opportunity for them as the draft NEP is still with the cabinet and if they are heard, it will be a big change we have been seeking for a long time. “At the same time if we are disappointed, we will stretch this campaign beyond this period and protest with full strength if need be on streets and elsewhere.”