SRINAGAR: Parents Association of Privately Administered Schools (PAPAS), an association of about 2,500 parents, on Wednesdayappealed high court to take action against the school associations which “misquoted” its order regarding Sep-Oct 2014 fees.
The PAPAS accused the private school associations of “misquoting” the high court order with “mala fide” intensions.
The schools across Srinagar and many parts of Kashmir remained shut for two months following a massive flood in September 2014.
Talking to reporters at a local hotel here, Mohsin Goni, an executive member of the parents’ association said that private schools have also hiked the annual school fee despite a clear cut high court order which reads that a school should charge fee as per the August 2014.
But, Goni said, the schools have pressured parents to pay the fee with hikes ranging from 10 to 20 %.
“This is a clear contempt of the high court order. We want the government and the chief justice of High Court to clear the confusions being created by vested interests and issue clear-cut instructions in this matter for compliance by parents,” Goni said.
Quoting an example from “New Convent School”, Goni said the principal, Iqbal Beigh had punished and “not allowed students to sit in the exam” for reasons that they (parents) did not pay the fee for the two months.
“As a punishment, the school had kept about 30 students under the blistering sun. I called Iqbal to certify the authenticity of the news. He told me ‘my information is wrong, I have kept 100 students.’ I asked him the reasons. He said the students have not paid the fee. I told him that you cannot give punishment for such reasons. He said ‘Till a child is not mentally tortured, parents won’t pay fee’ ,” Goni said.
Asma Goni, the convener of the association, said that it was in this background that a number of parents called her to plead their case before the school administration.
“But when I visited to meet the principal, the principal misbehaved with me to which I was forced to lodge an FIR at Rajbagh police station under 354 of RPC,” Asma said.
During the press conference, Goni asked private schools to declare weather they run schools for nonprofit basis or as a business venture. The reason, Goni said, was that a number of private schools which claim to be working under a trust are earning profits.
“We want them to stop the drama of being Non-Profit Trusts in shadow of which they are taking huge exemptions in the form of wavier of income tax, stamp duty, and other such levies from the government. Many of the missionary schools located in the heart of Srinagar city are availing huge benefits from the government. They are giving menial rent for the properties which are of huge commercial importance. If they are for profit, then why should public exchequer bear the brunt?” said Goni.
Goni also pitched for the formation of parents associations in every school which is also mandatory as per J&K SRO-123 issued by the education department.
He also termed the allegations made by president of private school association GM Var and Kashmir Economic alliance led by Showket Chowdhary as baseless.
Earlier both Var and Chowdhary had termed PAPAS an “illegal” association.