GUWAHATI, April 29 � The All Assam Private Schools� Association (AAPSA) has called upon the Government to help low-cost schools through grants or soft loans and called for �creative solutions� to the issues related to infrastructure, fee structure and school buses which have come into focus in recent days.
In a statement, AAPSA president Krishnanjan Chanda and secretary Pankaj Das said that inspections of the kind conducted by the Education Department and the Kamrup Metro district authority on schools during the past month �are a welcome and essential part in order to maintain and improve the quality of our schools.�
The Association, however, added that parents �voluntarily opt to send their children to private schools� due to �quality of education that we provide.�
�Most surveys strongly indicate that learning outcomes are better in private schools,� it said, adding that �low-cost schools have poor infrastructure precisely because they are low cost. But the results of these schools are very good. The very poor sections such as street vendors, rickshaw-pullers and housemaids are able to avail of the services of these schools due to the low fees and take the benefit of better results and consequent improvement of employable skills and thereby, social conditions get improved. Yet, these schools constantly face the threat of closure and lack of operational freedom. Therefore, we feel the laws and rules should focus on the outcome rather than inputs,� said the Association.
Pointing to the government schools, it said that �the learning outcome of government schools is such that a huge number of people have already abandoned them. The reasons are many such as lack of accountability of teachers, school leaders� lack of motivation due to several reasons and the failure of school management systems.�
The Association called for addressing the problem and said that the failure of government schools has affected the poor most.
�If the low-cost schools are operating in hazardous conditions, the Government should help these schools through grants or soft loans as these schools are providing good service to the financially challenged people,� said the Association.
With regard to the issue of fees, it said, �The fees of private schools have to be raised every year to meet annual increments and the hike in allowances at government rates, adjustment with inflation and addition to facilities. Government policies with regard to school buses have increased the fees that are charged from parents. The cost per student obviously shoots up when a bus costing more than Rs 15 lakh is run for only 3-4 hours. Therefore, creative solutions need to be found through the joint efforts of the Government and school bus providers that will address issues related to both safety and costs.�