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Opinion remains divided over Gujarat steep school fee cut
PoojaKothekar | 25 Apr 2017

'Will politicians send their children to municipal schools', is what parents against the fee-cut seem to be asking.

A CBSE affiliated school in Bodakdev, Gujarat, Prakash Higher Secondary School has openly challenged the state government and the Gujarat Self Finance (regulation of fees) Act 2017, claiming that the act is against the Constitution of India.

While that may take some legal expertise, it seems quite evident that education experts believe that quality of education may suffer as schools' budgets may shrink.

Mothers have other worries too – facilities, poor student-teacher ratio and reduced extra-curricular activities may become the new norm.

Some parents have protested against the fee-cut, venting out their resentment in blogs and social media. The simple principle of "garbage in-garbage out" – meaning that if your inputs are inferior in quality (low cost), the output will also be of inferior quality, has the parents worried about their children's future.

Ajay Patel, a father from Baroda says, "'Quality is not free, and if it is free then it is not sustainable.' – Stewart Anderson. And being a Quality professional I can endorse it for the education sector as well. The meaning of it is, if you really want to deliver quality education and want to be competitive in fast changing environment (thanks to advancement of IT), you need to invest in updating infrastructures (like smart classes, 3D-modeling & simulations to explain/teach topics conceptually rather than just rot teaching), you need to pay higher to get good qualified teachers, you need to invest in hired teachers to keep them updated with latest developments in their fields (like teacher symposiums, participating in seminars, advanced training etc. etc.). And for sure these come at some cost and the same need to shared by all including parents."

Another parent, Ruchir Shah says, "Low salaries will force teachers to take private tuitions. Children will be running from schools to coaching classes, and parents will end up spending the same amount of money."

Mr Abha Menon says, " As a parent, I feel that if parents are willing and can afford; they should be given full rights to send their wards to better schools. Extracurricular activities which enhance the students and makes them complete is not at all available in government schools/many other schools ."

Meghana Kankaria, another mother adds, " what about clean washrooms and CCTV cameras? I think we must not compromise on hygiene and safety."

The concerns mainly focus on

  1. Quality education cannot come cheap

  2. Teachers must be paid well: they are raising our future and teaching as a profession deserves more respect.

  3. The Indian education system cannot be high on expectation, and reluctant on spends

  4. A balanced upbringing involves that schools provides a smorgasbord of experiences and learnings; not just literacy.

  5. Ensuring safe, hygienic environments for children

Utpal Dixit, a parent from Rajkot asks, " will politicians to send their own children to municipal schools; are they are convinced that good schools can be run at that price."

The ruling does say that schools can come forward and ask to charge a higher fee than allowed as per this regulation.

Will there be more to this story? Its wait and watch time.