SRINAGAR: Asking owners of private schools not to see education as mere “business opportunity”, the J&K government on Sunday warned the private school authorities against “freezing people” in terms of admission, tuition and bus fee.
Addressing the delegates of private schools and children welfare association (All India), secretary education Farooq Ahmad Shah said, “Parents should not feel choked or cheated”.
However, he asserted that private schools were part of the state education department and “there was no difference”.
“We are not dictators,” he said addressing various owners of Kashmir based private schools. “We are public servants and we won’t let anyone to freeze anyone.” “It is the hard earned money of people who then repose faith in private schools for the education of their children.”
Shah asked the owners of private schools to see this sector as “ibaadat (prayer)” than business. “(And) those who see it as business should not jump into this sector,” he emphasized. “You have, in the form of students, future of nation in your hands.”
Maintaining the education was priority of chief minister and education minister, Shah said, “It is easy to vouch for excellence but we are trying our best in almost all spheres of education system.”
Implying that government was at the back of private schools in Kashmir, Shah, however, asked them to be people and student friendly at every stage.
Shah revealed that the government has upgraded and affiliated at least 800 private schools across Jammu and Kashmir. “We have given membership to private schools in BoD of JKBOSE, we are working on single window clearance and issue of monthly fee was solved,” he said.
Describing the education provided by missionary schools in Kashmir Valley as hall-mark, Shah asked the private schools to take their level of their education to their benchmark. “People don’t even shy away from standing outside the gates for days together at these missionary schools to get their children admitted,” he said.
“We are at your back with all support but when it comes to enforcement, we will take to task whosoever does excesses with students and their parents,” he told the private school owners.
In his address, deputy commissioner Srinagar, Dr Syed Abid Rashid Shah, said that the education sector of Jammu and Kashmir was “robust, up-alive and kicking”.
“Our education system is one of the best in entire country and private school education has had a remarkable role in it,” he said.
Extending his support, he said that the relationship between government and private schools system has to be “cohesive and bonded”. “This sector is not just for profit making and job creations but for nation building,” he asserted.
“I, as an officer, can be a facilitator but responsibilities are to be shared. We know there are costs involved… resources are needed, there are implications in running a school but education sets the foundation of any nation and this needs not be seen just as a business model,” he added.
“Deal this situation in a responsible manner,” he said addressing the private schools association. However, Shah conceded that private schools also “gave scholarships to deserving students and would also not charge fee to poor students”.