Ban on selling books: Private school association calls Govt action selective

Ban on selling books: Private school association calls Govt action selective
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Irshad Khan

Srinagar: Amid government penalizing many private schools recently for selling books inside their own premises, the Private Schools Association J&K (PSAJK) decried the government’s “selective” policy towards the institutions.
At a presser organised by the association in city center Lal Chowk on Tuesday, President PSAJK, G N Var alleged that the government has “maligned, humiliated, bullied” local private schools in the valley while it “encourages” schools set by outsiders “to take over local education sector”.
Var said that the recent crackdown on private schools by government was to “divert attention” of people from the recent fiasco when annual examination candidates had to write their papers under candles.
“An issue was created that (private) schools sell books and uniforms at particular shops or within their premises,” he said.
“When missionary schools closed admissions in October, Why was this issue not raised then? Now when it was turn of small schools, the government is up with a club,” he alleged.
A statement issued by the PSAJK alleged that the Legal Metrology Department’s team, on its visit to inspect Leeds Convent School Kulgam, “after thoroughly searching for an hour could not find any book in the school…”
The statement said that “in utter frustration, they challaned the school after spotting two gas cylinders, which the school had used for heating during class 11th examination”.
“In other incident, the team unable to find any book, took away books from school library and fined the school Rs 50, 000,” it alleged. The PSAJK statement said that there was “no rule, which specifically says that schools cannot keep books for sale”.
The statement said that the state high court has “stayed” an order by DM Kathua imposing ban on admission fee and sale of stationery items in private schools.
Var said that they are “of the opinion that schools should not force parents to buy selective books for their children”.
To a question whether the schools had taken parents on board over the prices of books, Var said, “We are fighting to get parents on board. There should be a council having parents and people from civil society as members”.
Taking a dig at the Fee Fixation Committee (FFC), Var said that the committee “has become another NIA”.
“What is the output of FFC? On one hand there is unemployment, on other hand, a retired judge aged above seventy years, has been given the post,” Var said.