KUSMA saves face by ‘deferring’ strike, schools reopen today

VOICES OF DISSENT: Members of Karnataka Janashakti and Karnataka Vidhyarthi Parishat and other organisations protest in front of the Town Hall against KUSMA in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K  

In the wake of the poor response to its call for a weeklong bandh against the Right to Education (RTE) Act, the strike by the Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA) officially fizzled out on Wednesday. The association has decided to “defer” the protest, effectively meaning that the handful of schools that closed down for three days to adhere to the bandh will reopen on Thursday.

‘Vested interests’

In a press statement, KUSMA secretary A. Mariappa conceded that the association had indeed failed “to secure appropriate response to its planned protest between July 16 and 22” and blamed vested interests. He said Rs. 2,400 crore in RTE funds available in the State is open “for misuse and corruption” and that KUSMA will continue its protest by convening a satyagraha by calling all its 1,800 members and parents to protest the government’s failure to answer the 11 questions it had publicly posed.

The press release also confirmed that the executive committee had accepted G.S. Sharma’s resignation from the presidential post.

‘Talk it through’

In the meanwhile, Karnataka Federation of Independent Schools Managements (KFISM) announced its protest plan to resolve the confusion surrounding RTE which will not involve closure of schools. Its president, L.R. Shivarame Gowda, said the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education should, instead of taking an adversarial stance, resolve the crisis through dialogue rather than hold meetings only at the level of officials.

“Serving notices is not the way to solve the issue,” he said, adding that KFISM was willing to also mediate between KUSMA and the government for an amicable resolution.


Earlier in the day, protests against the school closure continued, with the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha Youth Congress (BRLSYC) submitting a memorandum to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar seeking action against former KUSMA president Sharma’s alleged derogatory statements about children admitted through the 25 per cent quota of the RTE Act. They also demanded action against the schools which participated in the bandh.

A coalition of Karnataka Student Association, People’s Democratic Forum, Forum for State DEd-BEd Graduates, Samanata Women’s Forum, litterateurs and intellectuals also organised a protest.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 4:51:16 AM |

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