As part of State-wide strike call by managements of private schools

M. Radhika, a single parent, was forced to not send her daughter to school on Monday because the institution had withdrawn bus services for a day. Her daughter is a Class VI student of a school near Vadavalli.

“I had no time to take her to school because, being a single parent, I had to cook and then proceed to work. And I could not afford to spend on autorickshaw for the to and fro trips”, said Ms. Radhika.

Likewise, P.S. Shibu’s children also did not go to school because there was none to bring them back from school in the evening.

Taking them to school in the morning was not a problem and bringing them back was.

This was because many schools in the city, as part of a State-wide strike call by managements of private schools, took their vehicles off road to protest against the “stringent and impractical” conditions the State Transport Department had laid.

The private school managements, including those affiliated to international syllabi and the Central boards, decided to do so after a meeting they held in the city on November 7 to discuss ways to fight and register their protest against the new rules.

The managements also informed the parents that they would not operate their vehicles on November 19.

In keeping with the decision almost all schools in the city did not ply their vehicles. A few schools, however, went ahead and operated their vehicles.

This had an impact, though not severe, on the attendance at schools. Parents of students in kindergarten and lower classes, who usually send their wards in school vehicles for safe transport, did not do so in the absence of transport facilities, said R. Visalakshi, president, Tamil Nadu Private Schools’ Association.

“The absence was minimal,” she reiterated.

She said that the school managements, by taking their vehicles off road, wanted to tell the State Government that a few of the new rules for school vehicles were impractical.

It would only come in the way of smooth operation of vehicles. And the affected would be parents.

If the schools were forced to follow the “stringent” conditions, they would have no choice but to not ply vehicles until they obtained the fitness or road worthiness certificates and this would affect the parents who were dependent on the services, she explained.

She added that the managements would meet again to chart the next course of action.