Talks fail, Kusma schools in a fix

Talks fail, Kusma schools in a fix

Talks fail, Kusma schools in a fix

All attempts by the state government to negotiate with the Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (Kusma) failed on Monday with the association deciding to go ahead with their protest against the Right To Education Act and close schools for a week as planned earlier.

However, the response to the bandh called by Kusma on Monday was lukewarm. The association said it has given a call to all Kusma-affiliated schools to remain closed  till July 22.

On Monday, officials of the education department met association members to resolve the dispute. The association objected to minority schools being exempted under 25 per cent reservation clause of the Right to Education Act. They asked the state government to define the word “minority” in the rule, as the members believe that school managements may misuse the clause for not implementing the Act.

The state government officials said they could sort out only issues under the state’s purview, that is, those concerning implementation of the rules framed by the state government. Not satisfied with the response, members of the association told the officials they would go ahead with their protest and close school under the association as planned earlier, and informed the media accordingly.

Speaking to the media after the meet, department of primary and secondary education secretary G Kumar Naik said: “We are willing to sort out concerns expressed by school with regard to implementation of the Act. However, for directions issued by the Supreme Court such as that of exemption of minority schools from the reservation clause under RTE, the association will have to appeal to the court, as the discretion is not with the state government.”

Naik requested the school managements not to inconvenience students and parents  by shutting schools for a week.

Many schools under the association functioned as usual. Many schools had unit tests in progress and also did not want to disturb the schedule of Class X students. Other school associations, too, have kept away from the protest call. On Sunday, the Karnataka Federation for Independent Schools’ Management  withdrew its support to the closure call.

Government sources said that of the 400-plus schools in the City that are affiliated to the association, only 60 had responded to the strike call.

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