Pvt schools' body worried by threat to close 1,400 schools

Pvt schools' body worried by threat to close 1,400 schools

The issue the NISA says, is the medium of instruction

The National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), a platform that brings budget private schools across India, has expressed shock over a recent report in the media on the threat from the state government to close down some 1,400 unaided private schools, which purportedly do not have a valid recognition.

In an open letter to the state education minister, the alliance has said a decision leading to the closure of large number of unaided private schools would directly impact around 359,000 school-going children in Karnataka. The body added these were merely cases of violation of rules, rather than of the schools being unauthorised.

"This is particularly alarming in light of the fact that 21.9 per cent of children in rural Karnataka alone attend private schools, a large number of which are private unaided schools," a statement said.

The association believes a solution to the issue would be to reconsider the Karnataka language policy of 1994 that restricts the number of English medium schools recognised every year under the State Education Act.

NISA claims that the state was using the Right to Education Act (RTE), which gives states powers to regulate private schools within respective states, for considering such a move. The association said, "The logical solution here would be to identify which areas of CBSE and ISFC are not in alignment with the RTE rules of Karnataka and work out where the state government wants to intervene, rather than a blanket closure of these schools, which as it were, are duly recognised under the CBSE or ICSE."

The issue in Karnataka, NISA says, is the medium of instruction rather than these schools being completely unauthorised. "Many schools that you refer to as 'unauthorised' are in fact recognised under the state Education Act as Kannada medium schools, but provide English medium education. In fact, it is one of the core reasons why poor parents are opting for low budget private schools over government schools," the association said.

In light of this, the issue of schools recognised under the State Education Act, providing English medium education, amounts to violation of rules rather than being unauthorised.

The association seems particularly perturbed by the fact that not a single government school faces issues related to recognition.

"The fact is that government arguably chooses not to derecognise government schools, although many of them are RTE non-compliant," it has charged, and have asked "what action does the government intend to take against these RTE non-compliant government schools?"

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