While welcoming the recent Supreme Court order to allocate 25 per cent of the seats in private schools for poor students, founder-president, Andhra Pradesh Recognised Schools' Managements Association, S. Sreenivas Reddy, cautions that the issue needs an informed debate.
“The government has not made it clear about the quantum of money to be reimbursed. Looking at the problems that students from weaker sections are facing in getting their fee reimbursements for past three years in professional colleges, it is highly unlikely that reimbursements will be regular,” he said. This will force the schools to transfer the financial burden on the remaining 75 per cent of the children.
Mr. Reddy also argues that because of this initiative, government interference in the functioning of private schools will increase.
“With the fee reimbursement, schools will have to maintain a separate set of documentation. This will also encourage malpractices like showing false records to get more money from the government,” he said.
Mr. Reddy also points out that under the current provisions a student has to be admitted in a class according to his age rather than his educational standard and this will create major problems. When children join a class with which they cannot cope up, they will start feeling psychologically inferior and it will also create problems from the teachers in conducting classes, he said.
“Most parents prefer to send their children to a private school rather than a government school leading to their neglect,” Mr. Reddy said. With government collecting educational cess, efforts should be made to build better government schools rather than putting more pressure on private schools and in turn weaken the government schools, he added.