Kusma schools to remain closed today

Schools coming under the Karnataka Unaided School Managements Association (Kusma) umbrella will remain closed on Monday in protest against the ‘Right to Education’ Act rules.

 Confirming the bandh, Kusma secretary Mariappa, said the association will proceed with the protest from July 16 to 22. 

Some prominent schools in the City under the Association are Kumarans Children’s Home, Oxford School in Nandini Layout, Aurobindo School, Carmel School, Vidyashankar School, VES Public School, Kengeri and Athens School. In all, there are 1,800 schools under the Association across the state. 

Schools, however, are still confused on whether the protest will cover the entire week or take place only on Monday. The confusion has arisen because of assurances by the State government that discussions will be held to resolve the issue. 

The Association is to meet Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri, department secretary Kumar Naik and other officials on Monday.

At a time when the Association has declared that it would go ahead with the protest, president of the Karnataka Federation for Independent School Management, L Shivarame Gowda, announced on Sunday that they would not shut down their member schools. The schools under the Federation follow CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE and IB syllabus.

There are some 400 such schools in Bangalore alone. According to Gowda, a total of 1,300 schools across the State come under the Federation, including many state board schools.

“We do not want to cause trouble to students and parents by shutting down schools. In principle, we support the issues raised by the Association. However, we decided to take a different stand when it comes to closing schools for a week. We will hold talks with the government and approach the court to settle the issue,” Gowda said. 

Federation members said that they are “hurt” by the response of the government towards schools failing to provide a 25 per cent reservation. “Schools are being issued notices for failing to comply with Right to Education Rules. We need time to sort this out.

Such hasty actions do not help,” said G C Chandrashekar, a Federation member.

The Association has expressed concern over fee reimbursement provided for giving 25 per cent reservation under ‘ight to Education to children from economically weaker sections of society, a short notice for implementation and a lack of clarity in the process of admission under the reservation provision. 

But the government has scrambled to hold discussion with the Association to prevent the bandh from taking place.

“The Association has to consider the plight of students. They are being unfair to students and parents. Let them approach me and there is nothing that a discussion cannot resolve,” Kageri said.

With CBSE and ICSE schools staying out of the bandh, state board schools will know only on Monday after Association members meet with the department officials, whether they will be participating in the week-long protest. As of now, member schools of the Association will be closed on Monday. 

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