Jammu Kashmir Education Chamber – an amalgam of all private schools associations of J-K, today called on the government to reopen the schools with immediate effect as the continuous closure of schools is creating huge social, psychological and academic problems.
In a statement issued to a local news agency, Kashmir News Service (KNS), the Chamber said that the schools in Kashmir have been closed since 2019 and till date nobody in the government is coming out with any roadmap for opening of educational institutes.
“Every expert and educationist says that there is no alternative to brick and mortar classrooms and online classes are creating huge problems. If the schools are not opened any time soon, the future of our students is at stake,” a spokesperson of the JKEC said.
On the issue of fee fixation issue, the Chamber said that the pendency of files at the Fee Fixation and Regulation Committee (FFRC) is creating problems and chaos among both parents and school administration.
“Recently there was a statement wherein the FFRC has said that schools are not submitting the files. But the truth is that schools have been continuously submitting the files for resolving the fee and particularly the transport issue. Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir has also met the committee number of times to resolve the issue. In transportation sector we have drivers, conductors and other fixed expenses. Considering all the aspects we wanted the FFC to issue a general order so that the issue is resolved for once and all, but that is still awaited,” the spokesperson said. “The fact is that when number of schools went to the office of FFRC to submit their files, the officials at the office refused to accept the files by saying that ‘first we will clear the old files and then only we will accept the new files.’ As of now neither are old files being disposed off, nor are the new files being cleared.”
The Chamber said that all schools are fully cooperating on the issue but the slow work from FFRC side is creating huge backlog. “The statement that the schools are not submitting the files are not based on facts,” the spokesperson said.
The Chamber also raised question over the composition of the FFC saying that no school has any representation in the committee and the voice of schools is not being heard.
“They don’t have any Chartered Accountant or other financial experts to professionally look into the financial aspect of private schools. Secondly the FFRC can be truly impartial if it has representatives of private schools associations in its composition. Otherwise it becomes a one-sided affair. It seems that the fee committee is looking at the financial aspect of schools from the eyes of students and parents. But there are other sides of the coin too which could have been brought to fore if only the committee has representations of private school associations,” the spokesperson said. “FFC has to be impartial otherwise right from judge, members to other employees of the committee, all are parents and no-one is from school management.”
The Chamber also expressed its anguish over the recent attempts to defame schools on social media. “Private Schools are being defamed and projected as money minting machines. They are being branded as capitalistic class instead of educationists. As of now private schools are feeling humiliated and owning a school is being termed as some sort of crime,” the spokesperson said.
The Chamber also called on the FFRC to maintain a level of official protocol to the official orders. “All orders coming from Fee Committee should be regulated under a certain professional conduct. Even before the schools get the order, the same order is splashed all across social media. Sometimes schools are named even before any irregularity is established against them. Schools are not given right to reply and they are subjected to media trial. When the same schools come out with facts and figures to reply those allegations, nobody listens to them. The damage to the reputation of that school is already done. The accused are termed as culprits even before jury comes out with the verdict,” the spokesperson said. (KNS)