Fee waiver for girl students leaves schools starving for funds

The government order for fee waiver of Girl students up to their Higher Secondary level education has left the educational (Girls) institutions starving for funds. The move according to the insiders has badly affected their day to day affairs.

Notably, all the government girls’ schools used to generate local funds out of the fee charged from students and utilize it for school maintenance. However, the fee waiver has marred the development of the educational institutions as the government has failed to feed these schools with additional funds.

Pertinently, the State Government earlier ordered to waive off school fee of all girl students enrolled in government run schools up to higher secondary level. The announcement was made by the Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu while presenting his budget in the Legislative Assembly.

Post announcement of fee waiver, the government had decided to have separate allocation for girls’ schools for taking up minor repairs of building and up gradation of infrastructure as well.

However, the schools have been left starving as the government has failed to release a single penny in favor of these schools, despite the commencement of present academic session four months ago.

The school heads of the girls institutions expressed displeasure and said they have been knocking doors of education department for want of funds to meet the daily affairs of the schools.

“Our local funds are generated out of student fee but the government fee waiver for girls has hit the maintenance of schools. Department has not released any funds for our school,” said one of the Principals in Srinagar, wishing not to be named.

Interestingly, the heads of government schools were empowered by the then education minister in 2015 to utilize the local fund of schools for minor repairs of the buildings and other works as well.

“Using local funds for minor repairs and other works was possible only after charging fee from students, but now it didn’t happen,” the school principal said.

The school principals said the fee charged from students was used for procuring apparatus for laboratories and books for school libraries, besides organizing school level seminars.  

“But since the government ordered fee waiver, we have not been able to take up maintenance and civil works of the schools,” a group of schools headmasters said.

Importantly, the school education department has made it mandatory for the school heads to utilize school local funds to equip schools with fire extinguishers, electricity and other basic faculties. However, the school heads have not been able to equip their schools with these facilities given the non availability of school funds.

“We have 53 girls and 24 boys in our school. We won’t be able to ensure the required facilities in the school after waiving off fee for girl students,” said a group of teachers from Baramulla.

The school fee charged from students is utilized for Red Cross facility, School Improvement Fund (SIF), games fund and other utilities for maintenance of addition records.

“Now that schools don’t charge school fee from girls, there should be some alternate arrangements as well to make this initiative sustainable,” the teachers said.

Meanwhile, officials in the planning section of the education department said the government was collecting the details of requirements in these (girls’) schools and funds will be released in near future.

“We are collecting the details of all the schools and funds will be released as per the requirement put forward by the school heads,” the official said.

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