Budget woes

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Nearly half of India’s children attend private schools
Nearly 70 per cent from among the above go to ‘budget private schools’
45.5 per cent of total private school-goers attend institutions with fees less than Rs 500.

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Plight of Budget Private Schools (BPS)

The ability to pay even the minimum tuition fees charged by BPSs has become difficult with parents as they are daily wagers, small shop owners and cab drivers, among others, because COVID rendered them unemployed or their incomes are reduced.

On one hand where state governments have directed parents to stop paying fees to private schools when they are shut, they have simultaneously forced the school management to continue paying the salaries of teachers and staff.

Policy formulated with the elite private schools in mind necessitate certain infrastructure requirements such as playground, library, classrooms, student-teacher ratio, this has again put unnecessary financial burden on the BPS.

The National Independent Schools Alliance reports that the government has failed to reimburse “lakhs of crores” in fees for learners, adding to the financial burden on these BPSs.

Furthermore, unrealistic regulations often force BPSs to operate without due recognition, not only raising their risks of closure but also compromising the quality of education imparted.

The National Education Policy (NEP) makes no reference to BPSs.

The NEP also remains silent about the gaps in the Right to Education Act, low fee ceilings and infrastructure norms set by states, which further burdens these institutions financially.