The Private School Association Kashmir (PSAK) on Thursday asked the government to relax rules for holding class 8th annual exams by the concerned schools.
In a press conference held at a local hotel here, President PSAK, G N Var said the government should allow the private schools to hold the class 8th exams themselves or the issue will snowball into major controversy.
“Given the difference in academic standards in government and private schools, it is not possible for government to hold uniform exam for the students from both- private and public schools in class 8th,” Var said.
He said the school education department should relax the rules and allow the schools to hold this exam at schools level.
“Students in private schools are admitted in Kindergarten and later promoted to 1st primary but in government schools students are directly admitted in 1st primary. So there can be no uniformity in their standards and 8th class is considered to be foundation level for all competitive level exams and government should take a holistic view and allow private schools to conduct annual exams individually for 8th standard,” Var said.
The association also pitched for categorization of schools saying that the budget schools become unnecessary victim of the government orders issued for fee regulation and other facilities in schools.
“Budget schools have always become victim of the violations committed by the aided private schools. There should be a categorization of private schools by government in order to streamline the work culture in Kashmir. The government orders cause unnecessary inconvenience for the budget schools who charge minimal fee from the students,” Var said.
The association also lambasted the government over the conditions set for granting registration to the private schools functioning in Kashmir region saying that it was not possible for the school proprietors to fulfil the conditions every year to get their registrations extended.
“We are asked to obtain NoC from a Tehsildar to certify the chemical test in the school which is totally absurd. The said official is not competent for this exercise. Besides, we are asked to purchase fire extinguishers from a particular dealer which in itself sounds fishy,” Var said.
PSAK president was also flanked by the representatives of National Interdependent School Association (NISA) present in the press briefing and castigated the government for being strict with the private schools.
“The rules and norms set for private schools here don’t exist anywhere in India. State government here should relax rules for the private schools here and encourage their contribution in the education sector,” said the representatives of NISA.
Interestingly, NISA is an amalgam of associations from 24 states and have a representation of over 55000 private schools in India.
“We visited some schools and found some serious issues which the government should address,” the NISA representative said.
The NISA representation asked the government to reconstitute the School Fee Fixation Committee (SFFC) saying such committees are constituted in case where there is no government.
“It is only in Kashmir that you have an Adhoc committee which is constituted by the orders of High Court. Why should Judiciary intervene in such issues when the government is already functioning in the state,” said Vice President NISA, Ekta Sodha.
She said Courts should look after the judiciary and a monitoring committee constituted for regulation of private schools should include academicians, government employees and other members than the employees from the education department.
“Government should constitute a review committee which should have representatives of private schools in it who will decide about the functioning of the schools as per their budgets,” she said.
The NISA members urged the government to categorize the private schools in state as per their budget and fee charged from the students.
“Government should also rethink on the conditions set for private schools. It is a tedious task for them to get NoC from PWD department regarding safety of the buildings every year. It is nowhere in India that private schools are asked to comply such formalities per year. Let there be some relaxation for them,” they said.