Decision to tag students sparks protest by private schools in Jammu

Srinagar, Jan 10: The Private Schools Body in Jammu staged a protest against the government order to tag “on roll” students of around 60 private academic institutions operating on proprietary land, as having “expired affiliations, with government schools.

The private school body gathered at Dogra Chowk in Jammu and staged the “unwarranted” shift of students from low-budget private schools to government educational institutions.

A protesting private school owner, whose institution has been serving the community for four decades expressed his dismay over the decision and said that tagging of students was uncalled for.

“Our schools have been established for around 40 years, and today they have shifted our students to government schools without giving any breathing time to the management of the private schools,” she lamented.

She accused the government of aiming to shut the low-budget private schools. “In this situation, where will low-budget schools go? We have been imparting education to students in J&K for the last 40 years,” she said.

She further said the government decision to tag the students was open discrimination against these institutions.

“But we will continue the protest until our demands are met,” she said.

This newspaper earlier carried a series of stories highlighting the issue of the schools established on state land who were denied the release of registration forms of the class 10th students.

Another private school owner, opposed the student-tagging strategy and appealed to J&K LG Manoj Sinha to reconsider the decision on humanitarian grounds.

“A lot of injustice is being done to economic private schools. We are doing social service and working hand in hand with the government, but we are being harassed,” he said.

President Private Schools Association J&K (PSAJK), G N Var, argued that bureaucrats have created a situation where running low-budget private schools has become increasingly challenging.

“That is why today all schools are on the streets. After all, what is the fault of these lakhs of children? These children took admissions in schools many years ago when schools had proper registration and proper affiliation and had government recognition,” Var told Greater Kashmir.

He said suddenly these schools were told to shift the students to government schools

“I want to say that why this injustice is only with local budget schools? Why aren’t similar actions taken with high-end schools that are on government land? I request J&K LG Manoj Sinha to convene a high-level meeting in which stakeholders are also included and deliberate on the issue,” he said.

He said that the decision has to be made by the government, but” we want clarity on this.” “If you (government) want to close down local budget schools, issue an order, but what is happening through tagging is regrettable. This decision is snatching employment from lakhs of people,” he said.

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