Bangalore, July 17, 2012, DHNS:The week-long protest call given by the Karnataka Unaided School Managements’ Association (Kusma) did not evoke a positive response from its member schools on Tuesday. The schools did not want the students to be victims of a conflict between the association and the government.
According to the Education department officials, the support has dwindled with only 17 schools in the city and less than 100 across the State remaining closed as a mark of protest against the implementation of the Right To Education Act. The Association maintains that there are more than 400 schools under its umbrella in the city and nearly 1,800 all over the State.
Reflecting the opinion of many member schools of the association, Meenakshi Balakrishnan of Kumaran’s School said they had decided to function as usual as they did not want the students to bear the brunt of the tussle.
“There is no point in closing schools for one whole week,” she opined. Aurobindo School also conducted classes as usual. A few others like the Bangalore Education Society decided to suspend classes only for two days, against the call for a week-long protest.
“We will reopen on Thursday and will not remain closed for the whole week,” a staff member at the school told Deccan Herald. The Association has also come under criticism from the public with many organisations condemning the call for a protest. The Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Campaign Against Child Labour and Samajika Parivartana Janandolana are a few of the organisations which have expressed disappointment over Kusma’s action. SFI member Ananth Kumar said they would hold a protest against Kusma on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, members of Kusma said in a press release that they would call off the protest as soon as the government addressed their demand for clearly defining the term ‘minority’ in the provisions of the RTE Act. Sources said the KUSMA members of are divided over the bandh and a faction wants G S Sharma, the president to go. It is said Sharma may tender his resignation on Wednesday.
PIL against Kusma, govt
A public interest litigation has been filed before the High Court against the State government and the Karnataka Unaided Schools’ Management Association (Kusma), flaying the lackadaisical attitude of the school managements and the government in implementing the Right to Education Act.
The petitioner - S Vasudeva, an advocate - submitted before the court that the call given by Kusma for the closure of schools for a week in protest against the RTE was illegal and detrimental to the interests of primary and high school students across the State.
The petition, while exhorting the government to establish neighbourhood schools as per Section 6 of the Act, charges the Executive with failing in its duties to implement the rule of law. The petition squarely blames both the government and the Association for having failed to implement the Supreme Court order, thereby causing injustice to students from the economically weaker sections.
Terming the decision to close schools for a week “adamant and audacious”, Vasudeva has urged the Court to direct the State government for disciplinary action against Kusma and to derecognise schools that do not implement the Supreme Court verdict.