Nursery schools accuse play schools of fleecing money

Tamil Nadu Nursery and Primary Schools Association and Tamil Nadu Matriculation Schools Association have urged the State Government to regulate the functioning of play schools that were mushrooming across the State for educating children below the age of three.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Kalai Vijayakumar, president of both the associations said it was “unfortunate” that the government had very little control over the play schools that were mostly functioning under franchise system and collecting exorbitant fees from the parents.

In so far as issues concerning members of the two associations were concerned, he said that around 1,700 private schools in the State were functioning without recognition for the last three years due to a dispute between the government and school managements over the quantum of land required to run the institutions.

According to him, the government was insisting on six grounds (each ground measuring 2,400 square feet) of land in Municipal Corporation limits, 10 grounds in Municipality limits, an acre in Town Panchayat limits and three acres in Village Panchayat limits for running higher secondary schools.

“When a school can be run on six grounds of land in a Corporation limit, we do not understand the logic behind insisting on three acres of land in Panchayat limits. The government must understand the difficulties involved in purchasing additional land adjoining the existing location of schools,” he said.

Mr. Vijayakumar also objected to recent practice of schools being asked to obtain building plan permission from Local Planning Authorities, on payment of Rs. 148 for every square metre, apart from the permissions that they had already obtained from the local bodies concerned.

Stating that the existing procedure of schools being asked to renew their recognition every three years was cumbersome, he insisted that the renewal period should be raised to five years besides granting permanent recognition to schools that were run without any complaints for 20 years.

On payment of property tax, he said that it was unfair to force schools in rural areas alone to shell out Rs. 1.60 per square foot while granting exemption from payment of such tax to schools in urban localities.

“The government must look into our demands immediately,” he added.

The associations also accused the Regional Transport Officers across the State of delaying the grant of Fitness Certificate to the school buses on one pretext or the other. “We are unable to concentrate on academics as we are forced to run behind the RTOs all the time,” he said.

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