The Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Welfare Association observed a fast here on Saturday to press a nine-point charter of demands.

General secretary of the association G. Krishnaraj said that the land requirements – which were originally fixed for higher secondary schools in the wake of the Kumbakonam Krishna School fire accident on July 16, 2004, which claimed 94 lives – were extended to the primary and elementary schools in 2007.

This provision was not part of the original Government Order but was inserted by Education Department officials in 2007, he said adding that about 100 schools in Coimbatore district alone would be adversely affected by this rule.

Applications for license renewal of more than 60 schools here have already been rejected.

He objected to the threat of arrest of school correspondents if their school buses got involved in accidents.

In many small schools, the Correspondents doubled as principals and took classes too. Arresting them for unforeseen incidents was totally unacceptable, he said.

Another major area of concern was the recent changes in rules mandating schools to obtain clearances from multiple Government agencies frequently.

“Even though an engineer approved by the Collector certifies the schools, we are being told to get certificates from several other departments. This increases the paperwork for schools and burdens them with cumbersome procedures,” said Mr. Krishnaraj.

Government officials were threatening to close down many schools if they did not conform to the norms of Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act. Many provisions in this legislation were too onerous for small schools to comply with.

The ban on asbestos tiles for roofs of buildings was affecting many small schools that were economically weak to afford replacements, he added.

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