UP Schools Threaten To Stop Online Classes If Not Allowed To Reopen

Lucknow- Nearly 250 educational institutions under the Unaided Private School Association (UPSA) have threatened to stop online classes and withdraw support during the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election process if the state government does not order resumption of physical classes.

The UPSA said it would wait till February 6 after which it would discontinue all online classes.

It has been opposing the state government's decision on closure of schools by saying that when all public places like parks, markets, railway stations and malls are open, then why schools should remain closed where Covid-19 safety norms are being followed.

The government had issued directives regarding closure of all schools in Uttar Pradesh for offline classes from January 16 to 23. Later, the closure was extended till February 6 considering the Covid-19 situation and schools were asked to conduct online classes.

"The government is calling students for various programmes where Covid-19 safety protocol is being ignored then why it is not allowing schools to conduct classes on the campus," asked UPSA president Anil Agarwal.

He said excessive interference of government in the functioning of private schools, be it fee hike, use of school vehicles in elections, or delay in fee reimbursement to schools for admissions under the Right to Education, was adversely impacting the standard of education.

"The government's directive to schools to not to increase the fee will not be accepted. We will increase the fee according to the UP Fee Regulation Act," he added.

Agarwal said schools had to suffer huge financial losses due to pandemic as a number of students had left schools.

The UPSA fears having to shut down their institutions if the state government does not allow them to increase fees.

Agarwal, who is managing director of the St Joseph Group of Institutions, said: "A large number of private schools in Uttar Pradesh have no option but to shut down their schools if the state government does not allow them to increase fees and reopen completely from February 7.

"There was no salary revision of our teachers and staff because schools were not allowed to increase fees. This is affecting their performance. In these trying times, a few member schools will be forced to shut down if the government does not let them increase fees for the third successive year."

Gita Gandhi Kingdon, also president of City Montessori School (CMS), said: "There has been no increase in fees for three years. And it is difficult to deny increment to teachers and staff who have been working in the pandemic."

The UPSA said that efforts are being made by schools so that voting percentage increases in the upcoming assembly Elections.

"But we will do all this only when schools will be allowed to reopen from February 7," said Agarwal.

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