Several schools in the state — including those affiliated to CBSE, ICSE, and international boards — will neither hold online nor regular classes on Tuesday as part of a protest to press for the implementation of their demands, including roll back in cap on tuition fee.
Many schools plan to engage students on Saturday (Feb 27) to compensate for missed classes or postponed preparatory exams.
The protest has been called by various associations, including Management of Independent CBSE Schools Association, Karnataka ICSE Schools Association, Association of Management of Primary and Secondary Schools of Karnataka, and Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association among others.
Teachers and management staff will also go on a protest march from the City railway station to Freedom Park on Tuesday.
School associations have raised various demands, including revoking the recent order on fee concession for the academic year. The government had ordered schools not to collect more than 70% of the tuition fees. It also barred schools from charging fees under any other head.
The other demands include releasing grants for teaching and non-teaching staff; release of RTE reimbursements; changing rules on fire safety for existing schools and ending corruption at various department levels. Even though school associations have conducted protests before, this is the first time at least 10 associations have come together.
However, many schools across boards have decided to hold compensatory classes on Saturday so that the protest doesn’t add to the days students have already lost due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, at least three school associations have filed writs in the Karnataka high court challenging the government order on school fees. However, some of the cases are yet to be admitted.
Some of them are members of right-to-learn school associations that had earlier fought the ban on online classes in Bengaluru after the lockdown was imposed. KAMS has also filed a writ seeking a stay on the order and a hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Karnataka State Minorities Educational Institutions Managements Federation in its writ petition has also pointed out that the fee notification is a violation of Article 30 of the Indian Constitution. Schools had earlier warned that they would resort to legal measures if the order is not revoked. At the same time, parents’ associations have asked the government not to succumb to the pressure being exerted by school management.
Institutions reopen for grades 6-8 today
Regular classes will resume for students from grades 6 to 8 from Monday in all districts in Karnataka except in Bengaluru and taluks adjoining the Kerala border. While grade 8 will start in these places, students from grades 6 and 7 will continue with Vidyagama programmes. Schools said they expect children who have been attending the Vidyagama programme to continue with regular classes. Schools near the Kerala border will remain shut for these grades due to the surge in cases in the neighbouring state.