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Maharashtra school bandh: Around 4,400 institutes closed on Monday to protest skewed implementation of RTE Act

Around 4,400 schools in Maharashtra were closed in the state on Monday in protest over the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. A bandh was called by the Federation of School Association of Maharashtra (FSAM) some days ago after the state government failed to respond to the issue raised by school administrations in a letter dated 24 January.

 Maharashtra school bandh: Around 4,400 institutes closed on Monday to protest skewed implementation of RTE Act

Representational image. Reuters.

The on-going Maharashtra Board HSC, SSC Examination 2019 have, however, not been impacted by the bandh even as 2,000 school buses were also on strike, reported The Times of India.

The FSAM has been protesting the delayed RTE admission reimbursements and to demand action against parents who default on fee payment, among other issues. FSAM members have alleged that the state department government resolution (GR), on 1 November, 2008, allowing reimbursement of Rs 17,000 each year per child is less than the tuition fee in many schools.

Rajendra Singh, a representative of the Independent English Schools Association, was quoted saying, "Each school has a different fee structure depending on the facilities it provides. Moreover, the GR states that the government will only reimburse the tuition fees, and no other costs, like electricity, land etc.”

He also said that schools have been asked for documents and certificates of students admitted under the RTE, even though these kids were admitted after the proper government verification process. FSAM members further pointed at the lack of infrastructure to effectively monitor the implementation of the RTE Act. They argued that government officials should visit schools to verify if students were attending classes, instead of asking schools to do the same.

FSAM demands also include rules for the protection of school staff and making changes to older ones that held a bus provider or contractor responsible for any untoward incident rather than the principal. They also insist on starting “Darja wadh” (permission to pass students of Class 8 and Class 9) online, providing free books, bags, uniform and stationery material to students under the RTE and reimbursing RTE fees according to the Executive Parents Teachers Association approved fees of respective schools.

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Updated Date: Feb 25, 2019 15:00:39 IST