'Budget' schools may hike fee

'Budget' schools may hike fee

An alliance of a large number of “budget” private schools in the country has threatened to increase tuition fee with the Centre’s move to bring in private schools under the ambit of the Employees State Insurance (ESI) Act.

National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) president, Kulbhushan Sharma, said, “The ESI Act, since its inception, was provisioned for labours (sic) working in hazardous industries. The recent announcement (by the government) considers teachers as labours and is pressing schools to subscribe to the Scheme to Promote Registration of Employees/ Employers (SPREE). This has brought the schools in a flux to increase their fees in order to adhere to the government’s stringent norms”.

The Centre went ahead with the amendments to the ESI Act without holding consultations with budget private schools, said Krishna Reddy, Telangana state president of NISA.

“Now, we have no option but to adhere to the order. ESIC order is being calculated and penalty is levied since 2008. We are forced to pay charges for the past 8 years while we did not avail the services,” he added.

The NISA demanded that the government should not bring the amended Act in force with retrospective effect.

“If the government still relents with its order, we will have no alternative but to increase the fees in our schools which will adversely affect the poor parents,” Reddy said.

The NISA claims to represent 55,000 schools that cater to the needs of 22 million children at an average of 400 children per school across the country.

The ESIC does not have adequate number of hospitals in its network and adequate facilities to cater to the need.

Bearing these facts in mind, the government should give a choice to the employees to choose a healthcare option, including the health insurance scheme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said Amit Chandra, NISA’s policy advisor.

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