Plea for package to save private schools, teachers

(Pic for representation purpose only)

MUMBAI, April 30, 2020: The Maharashtra English School Trustees Association (MESTA) has requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to provide a monetary package for parents and schools as the ban on collection of fees by various state governments on private schools have badly impacted the teachers and support staff resulting in defaulting in salaries.

On April 24, MESTA had made a similar request to the Maharashtra Education Minister, Varsha Gaikwad, requesting the withdrawal of the ban on the collection of fees by private schools as teachers and non-teaching staff were experiencing a financial crisis due to non-payment of salaries. However, no statement has so far come out from the state government to this regard.

In his letter to RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, MESTA’s state president, Sanjay Patil, mentioned that while the RBI has extended its outreach to various other sectors, education being among the priority lending sector is in dire need of monetary assistance. Most of the private schools across the country have started defaulting on salaries leaving the teaching and non-teaching staff fighting for their survival and livelihood.

MESTA is representing over 18,000 Trustee Members and 80,000 teachers across 37 districts of Maharashtra, and is supporting over two crore teaching and non-teaching staff’s across five lakh private schools in India as their survival solely depends on fees collected from their parents. Despite the adversity, MESTA mentions, teachers have fulfilled their duty and maintained continuity in education through online learning and other methods.

In the letter to the RBI governor, Patil pointed out that there should be a joint force to resolve this issue and the Central Bank has a key role to perform. “Amidst this crisis, it is imperative that schools, the government and parents operate in close proximity towards ensuring salaries to teachers and non-teaching staff while simultaneously minimizing the financial impact on parents.”

Hence, MESTA state president mentions the need for the RBI to help the education sector from crippling down and going bankrupt. He suggests a two-point programme through which the education sector can be revived, salaries can be paid to the teachers and support staff, preventing schools across the country from shutting down and ensuring continuity in education.

“Firstly, since education is under the priority lending sector, loan benefits provided to other priority sectors should also be extended to the education sector in these times of crisis. RBI should provide interest-free loans to parents to fund their child’s education through direct bank transfer or any mechanism deemed fit by the governor. And secondly, similar interest-free loans should also be made available to schools to pay recurring costs such as teacher salaries, overheads, and capital expenditure,” said Patil adding that this initiative will reap dividends for the country in the coming years. 

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