The Congress on Wednesday called the Gujarat government’s announcement of 25% reduction in school fees of private schools a ‘carrot being dangled’ to stop the protest by parents.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said parents had sought for 50% reduction in school fees because many of them have lost their job.
Against this, the Gujarat government announced a reduction of mere 25% under pressure from the private school lobby, he said.
He said ideally the fee reduction should have been 50% to 100%. Doshi said the education department has become the hub for corruption and a prime example of it was the fact that school fees had risen by 85% after the Gujarat government brought in a rule to control fees.
He said the 25% fee reduction was an imaginary carrot because the schools have been shut down till November.
“There has been no education going on so why should parents pay the fees for up to November. The least the government can do is allow parents not to pay fees up to November,” said Doshi.
He said Congress will continue to protest until the government announces letting go of the fee for at least one term.
What the government said on school fees
Earlier the government had said that its announcement of 25% reduction in school fees was taken after discussion with various parents’ associations.
To Congress’ demand that 100% fee should be waived off, the state government had countered and asked that perhaps Congress should point out to at least one state where it was in power and it had done so.
Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama on Wednesday announced a 25% reduction in school fees of private schools in Gujarat.
He made the announcement at a press conference held in Gandhinagar on Wednesday. Chudasama also clarified that apart from the school fees no other fees can be charged by schools.
He said parents who have already paid the fee can adjust it for the subsequent quarterly fees.
Congress’ earlier criticism on delay in announcing school fees reduction
As the state government dilly-dallied on the issue of fees charged by private schools, the Congress had intensified its attack alleging that the state is hand-in-gloves with the owners of private schools.
Leader of Opposition in the assembly Paresh Dhanani alleged that Gujarat government was in the hands of the fee mafia in the state.
“The government is delaying the decision even though parents are hit by economic distress as it wants to please the school operators. The government had tried to pass the buck to the high court. But the high court clearly stated that the government has the power to decide on school fees and yet it is delaying the matter,” said Dhanani, a Congress leader.
He said the governments’ intention is clear as the state had in the assembly admitted that in the last two years it had closed 123 government schools and allowed 1,157 private schools to open.
“The government is thus giving a green light to private schools to rob parents,” said Dhanani.
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