The decision of a private school at Ganapathy here to close down at the end of the current academic year citing its financial inability to comply with all the Government norms portends a grim trend caused by “excessive regulation of private schools” in the State, says private school associations.
Around 150 parents gathered in front of the higher secondary school – which had nearly 800 students – on Saturday to protest against the move. The school management had found the going tough in the recent past.
The Saravanampatty Police said that the parents gave up their protest after the Chief Education Officer A. Gnanagowri went to the spot, spoke to the parents as well as the management and suggested a solution. Thereafter the parents left the place.
Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Welfare Association general secretary G. Krishnaraj said that the new norms introduced in the past couple of years had both driven up the expenditure of private schools while restricting their ability to raise revenue.
The Central Governments’ Right To Education Act, which mandated a certain number of classrooms and teachers, and the Fee Determination Committee constituted by the State Government together had imposed significant financial burden on private schools, he said.
Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association president R. Visalakshi said that the Fee Determination Committee prohibited the private schools from collecting money from the students to meet the additional infrastructure required under the RTE Act. Also, the schools were told to comply with the new norms immediately with little time being given. Further, the recognition of private schools that did not comply with the norms were kept pending.
Apart from the threat of heavy fines under the RTE Act, the Class X and Plus Two students studying in schools lacking recognition cannot take the public examinations, she said.
“Also, the Government is yet to reimburse the fee for students admitted under RTE Act quota. Faced with financial pressure from all sides, private schools have but little choice. This could be the first of many more schools to close down in the coming months,” she said.Norms violated
Ms. Gnanagowri said the Department of School Education had not renewed the recognition of this private matriculation school at Ganapathy since 2011 as it had not conformed to some of the Government norms.
As it had not addressed the violations pointed out by the Department, the school was given a closure notice.Talks
However, she said that considering the interest of the students, talks were initiated with the school management asking them to close down their higher secondary sections. Conversion of the school to high school status would bring about some relaxation in the norms.